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BE’s 10th and Nicollet gets OK

Council votes after public hearing to proceed with $2.1M project

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Dec 13, 2020

This is 10th Street in Blue Earth, looking west from Main Street towards the intersection with Nicollet Street.

For the second Monday in a row, the Blue Earth City Council held a public hearing about a street reconstruction project slated for 2021.

On Monday, Nov. 30, it was a public hearing for the Walnut, Hood and Third Street project.

This past Monday night the council held a public hearing on the 10th and Nicollet Street Reconstruction Project, also slated for next year.

The hearing was held at the start of the regular City Council meeting, at the Public Safety Center. About 15 persons attended the hearing, either in person or on a telephone conference call.

City engineer Wes Brown, of Bolton and Menk, gave a similar slide presentation of information about the project, similar to the one he gave the week before.

The project includes the south block of Nicollet Street, which ends in a dead end cul-du-sac. It also includes three blocks of West 10th Street, from Main to Holland.

Brown said the total projected cost of the project is $2,152,641 with $506,472 being assessed to local property owners.

The project costs break down as follows:

• The street reconstruction is $1,105,570, with the city paying 70 percent, or $801,107, while the property owners will be assessed $278,841 for streets, $12,177 for sidewalks and $13,443 for mill and overlay work on Bartels Drive.

• Storm sewer construction at $351,175, with the city covering all of the cost.

• Sanitary sewer construction of $268,580, with the city paying $177,860 and property owners $90,720 for hookups into the main line.

• Watermain construction of $427,316 with Blue Earth Light and Water paying $316,026 and property owners paying $11,290 in line hookups to the watermain.

Brown explained that the streets are in bad condition, but also some of the sewer and water lines are old, having been installed in the 1940s.

He also said the plan is to remove the center median on Nicollet Street, as well as the trees that are on the median. It would cost $85,000 extra to replace the median as is, he said. No one spoke in favor of keeping the median as is.

“The city will be replacing all the trees that have to be removed during the project with 2-inch Autumn Blaze maples,” Brown said.

The width of the streets will both be made 36-feet wide to conform to other city streets, Brown said. That means Nicollet Street will be shrunk down to 36 feet wide, with property owners gaining more front yard. Tenth Street will wind up being 6-feet wider than it currently is.

Brown said all current sidewalks on 10th Street will be replaced, while the ones on Nicollet will not be.

That sparked some discussion by both the citizens at the meeting and one council member.

Residents on Nicollet said they were happy the sidewalks would not be replaced.

“I don’t think there is a need for sidewalks on both sides of 10th Street between Nicollet and Main,” councilman Glenn Gaylord said. However, at the end the council decided to leave replacing all current sidewalks on 10th in the plan as is.

Gaylord did comment he was happy the plan included ‘beefing up’ the block of 10th from Main to Nicollet due to its heavy traffic.

Some of the comments from citizens concerned access to homes during construction since Nicollet is a dead end street.

“We know that is a concern,” Brown said. “We are working on a plan that could have all of 10th Street done first, then Nicollet work started after that. The contractor will try and have as much access as possible during construction. Accommodations are being made for mail delivery and garbage and recycling pickup.”

Brown also explained that the Bartels Drive mill and overlay project, which was to have been done this past summer, will now also become part of the 10th and Nicollet Street project.

“We learned Blue Earth Light and Water wanted to do some water line replacement,” Brown said. “So we moved that work to 2021.”

After the hearing the council passed a resolution to proceed with the project, call for plans and specs to be prepared and call for bids to be opened in April.

Construction is expected to start in May or June of 2021 and last throughout the construction season.