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Park Rapids looks at 2013 CIP

Water projects are among the priorities for Park Rapids city leaders. (Enterprise file photo)

Park Rapids council members are looking at several major projects in the next few years that could lead to a significant increase in the levy.

A public hearing has been scheduled for March 12 to review the 2013-17 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for city projects and equipment. A draft copy is available to the public at City Hall to look at before the hearing.

Several of the projects outlined in the CIP can't be put off much longer, city staff and council members agreed.

For 2013, Park Rapids is looking to construct a water treatment facility. The city has had issues with its wells and high nitrate levels for many years. After trying different options, including deeper wells, it was determined that the only other viable option is a treatment facility. The cost estimate for the water treatment facility is $2.4 million, which could be paid for with the city's water/sewer fund if rates are increased, along with an anticipated federal grant.

Also on the docket for 2013 is an airport project that would pave and extend a runway. The $5 million project would be paid for at 90 percent with federal dollars. The city's obligation is $500,000. The city currently has a 3,000-foot grass cross-wind runway with attached taxiway. Wit h increasing traffic at the airport, city staff thinks it will be better to convert the grass runway into a concrete runway, which will enable it to be utilized year round.

The Riverside Avenue area of the city is due for major underground improvements. The city has outlined a three-phase project to split up the construction over three years, from 2013-15. The cost is $1.1 million in 2013, $800,000 in 2014 and $600,000 in 2015.

The project would replace water main, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, streets, curb, gutter and sidewalks. Sanitary sewer in this area was installed in the 1920s and 1930s and is made of clay tile. Several homeowners in the area have reported back-ups in the last few years, which will likely continue unless the sewer and water mains are upgraded.

The city engineer has recommended that all recently paved streets and lots, along with some others in the city be seal coated to prevent damage and deterioration. The city identified this need several years ago but it hasn't been funded. The city plans to do seal coating in 2013 and 2015 at a cost of $150,000 each year.

Rapids Spirits is requesting it have its parking lot paved in 2013 to address safety concerns at a cost of $33,000. The surface continues to deteriorate.

Council member Dave W. Konshok said he understood that the projects were needed but he was concerned about the city's levy jumping over the next few years.

The proposed CIP shows an estimated project cost of $20.75 million over the next five years.

Cost estimates based on the CIP show the 2013 levy at $612,900, 2014 levy at $695,000, 2015 at $830,900, 2016 levy at $814,000 and 2017 levy at $673,000.

Interim city administrator John McKinney said some of the projects would be very difficult to delay.

"The levies are going to go up - there is no question," he said.

The council will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at the Park Rapids Area Library lower level meeting room.

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