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City streets to see improvements

Sixth Street west in Park Rapids is among a section of the city that will receive improvements next summer. The southwest area has had backups and drainage problems in the past few years. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Park Rapids is planning street improvements in a southwest section of the city.

The improvements are part of the city's Capital Improvement Plan to replace sanitary sewer, drainage, water mains and street improvements. The project was slated for 2011 but has been bumped up to 2010 due to backups and sewage and drainage problems in the area.

The area is from Sixth Street west from 300 feet west of Stevens Avenue to Pleasant Avenue, Seventh Street west from Fair Avenue to Front Avenue, Eighth Street west from Fair Avenue to Pleasant Avenue, Stevens Avenue from Eighth Street west to Sixth Street west and some alleys.

"We started to look at it right now due to the failures along Front Avenue," city engineer Jon Olson said.

The streets were surfaced with bituminous in the late 1970s and are beginning to show some wear and tear. Some of the sewer pipes are old and have had several failures in the last few years, Olson said.

The area has no storm sewer facilities and drainage has been an issue, he said. The proposed project will allow for connecting to a storm sewer main that was completed during the Pleasant Avenue project in 2008.

Old sanitary sewer and water mains will be replaced with PVC mains. Many of the existing mains are beyond their useful expected lifespan, according to an engineering report.

"The alleys are where the troublesome sanitary is," Olson said. "We would propose that the alleys be surfaced with one lift of bituminous."

That part of the project could be changed but the engineers recommend sealing them up, he said.

The proposed street improvements would have curb and gutter and a sidewalk is proposed on the north side of Eighth Street. The sidewalk will connect the Main Avenue corridor to the future Fair Avenue Trail.

Olson said the curb and gutter adds an additional cost but it makes sense to have it because of the availability of storm sewer drainage from the Pleasant Avenue project.

The estimated construction costs total $1,544,500. The city share is $466,500 with $1,078,000 assessable to property owners.

For an average 100-foot lot, the estimated assessment is $15,800, Olson said. A 75-foot lot would be approximately $12,100 and a corner lot would be approximately $21,000.

The council wondered if the city should consider using the same contractor for this project as the Main Avenue reconstruction project to save money.

Olson said he worried about getting both projects done in one year if the same contractor was used.

"And with the complexity of Main Avenue, I think it's good to keep them separate," he said.

Letters will be sent to property owners and a public hearing will be held Jan. 26.