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City's southwest assessments lower than estimated

The southwest Park Rapids utility and road construction project is wrapping up, with assessment costs coming in lower than estimates.

A final layer of bituminous was put down earlier this summer and a few details remain.

An assessment hearing was held Tuesday at the Park Rapids City Council meeting. The adjustment to the project cost was due in part to the city's adoption of a storm water utility fee, which collects money to offset storm water project costs and storm water maintenance.

City engineer Jon Olson said the final cost of $1,349,000 reflects a savings of about $200,000. The average assessment for a 75-foot lot is $2,300 while the average assessment for a 100-foot lot is $3,100. Assessments can be paid in full by 2012 or assessed on property taxes for 15 years at a 5.5 percent interest rate.

The project area was 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 two alleys.

It was part of the city's Capital Improvement Plan.

Homes in this area of Park Rapids had been having drainage issues, prompting the utility project. The project was expected to clear up the issues with the addition of curb and gutter and storm sewer.

A rain garden is part of the storm water portion of the project and is located at Lindquist Park near Heritage Living Center. A rain garden prevents water pollution by allowing storm water to soak into the ground before running off.

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

The area had no storm sewer facilities. Part of the project has connected that area of town to a storm sewer main that was completed during the Pleasant Avenue project in 2008.

Old sanitary sewer and water mains were replaced with PVC mains. Curb and gutter and a sidewalk were added on Eighth Street. A sidewalk was also added on Sixth Street.

In other business, the council:

n Looked at a request from Jim and Candy Weinzierl for a reduction of their second quarter water/sewer billing.

The higher bill is a mystery to several parties.

The Weinzierls received a water bill June 25 for $141.63. This bill was nearly double the average of the last five bills they had received. They are the only two living in the house and do not water their lawn with city water.

Dean Christofferson, city utility maintenance employee, visited the house and could not find any leaks and the meter appeared to be working correctly.

Jim Weinzierl, attending Tuesday's council meeting, said he was looking for advice from the city.

The council directed staff to check the water readings from the Weinzierls part way through the billing cycle to determine whether it was running higher than usual again.

Staff will check back with the council.

n Directed staff to add improvements to Mill Road in the city of Park Rapids to the Capital Improvement Plan. The road has drainage issues that need to be worked on. The project would be small and city engineer Jon Olson said it might be a good idea to pair it with another larger project in the future.

n Approved purchasing traffic control barrels for Main Avenue.

The city had been placing barricades for traffic control during special events on Main Avenue. It was determined that new barrels would be stackable and more portable.

The council approved staff purchasing barrels up to $1,500 total after finding the best deal.

n Changed the time of the Sept. 13 council meeting to 7 p.m.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561