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Steering committee decides on Main streetscapes

A steering committee will make recommendations for Main Avenue, including trash cans on corner nodes, to the city council on Tuesday. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

A steering committee has decided on streetscape recommendations for the Main Avenue reconstruction project.

The recommendations will be made Tuesday at the regular Park Rapids City Council meeting.

Jon Olson, the city's engineer, said the RDG plan, which was adopted in 2008, was a road map in creating three options for the Downtown Park Rapids Steering Committee to look at. The group met this week to look at the three options, decide on a recommendation and discuss the construction schedule.

Option A looked like RDG's original plan, with modern looking bricks and metal trash cans and benches. Option B was a naturalistic take off of RDG's plan, with bricks that looked like stones and wood-finished trash cans and benches. Option C was rustic, with bricks that looked weathered and rocks used for benches.

The group wanted to decide an overall look and then have the engineers work out the specific designs. The consensus was to keep it simple and have it be a natural look with stones.

The group decided it would like simple bicycle racks on each corner node, as well as in the middle of each block.

It was decided to have four trash cans on each block (one on each corner and two in the middle of the block). Trash cans will be 32 gallons rather than the large plastic trash cans downtown now.

The group will make the recommendation to have a bench placed at each corner node as well. The benches would be metal with a different nature design on the back of each.

Another recommendation is to have marble inlays that have a picture of several different area lakes placed throughout downtown.

These recommendations will be included in the bid and the general contractor will find others to complete that work, Olson said.

Cynthia Jones, Downtown Business Association co-chair, said that giving the architects the general concept will help them work out the details once they start drawing out the plans.

"That's right. We don't bid the contractor, we bid the concept," Olson said.

The steering committee also discussed the construction schedule and decided to start right away with the northern section of Main Avenue, which is where the businesses are. Olson said there was a risk that the project wouldn't be completed if construction on the business section of Main didn't start until August.

Fall weather can be unpredictable, he said.

Also, the group that has been working on promoting the construction said starting construction right away on the business blocks would keep momentum going.

Street lights were also discussed.

David Collins, Hubbard County Regional Economic Development director, said solar lighting was being looked at with a possibility of receiving grant money to do a pilot project.

Also, federal dollars were discussed. About $730,500 has been appropriated for the project through a Sen. Amy Klobuchar bill. That money looks to be fairly sure, Collins said.

A House transportation bill appropriation looks like it might not happen before construction begins, meaning the money couldn't be used, Collins said. In order for the city to get some money from that bill, the group decided to allow for rewriting of the appropriation to be for the southernmost part of Main Avenue so some money could be used if the city decided to continue working south on Main.

Recommendations will be made to the city council at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hubbard County Courthouse basement meeting room.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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