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Bemidji City Council: Road project to be considered

The Bemidji City Council this week will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2010 Street Renewal Project.

The public hearing will be conducted during the council's regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall. The meeting is on Tuesday due to Monday's Presidents Day holiday.

Prior to the regular meeting, the council will convene for a 6 p.m. work session on the video boards (scoreboard) for the Bemidji Regional Event Center.

The 2010 Street Renewal Project would involve the reconstruction of about 1 mile of city streets.

If authorized, improved roadways would include:

- Park Avenue Northwest between Paul Bunyan Drive Northwest and 30th Street Northwest.

- 23rd Street Northeast between Calihan Avenue Northeast and Birchmont Drive Northeast.

- Grant Avenue Southeast between First Street Southeast and Fourth Street Southeast.

- Scott Avenue Southeast between First Street Southeast and Second Street Southeast.

- Central Avenue Southeast between First Street Southeast and Second Street Southeast.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.8 million, which would be paid through a combination of city funds and assessments to affected property owners.

According to council documents:

Seventy-one properties are included on the preliminary assessment roll. Property owners would be assessed $38 per frontage foot for street improvements and $1,070 for each new service line received for utility improvements. The average assessment is about $3,000.

Total assessments are estimated at about $225,000, which is 12 percent of the project cost.

A neighborhood meeting on the proposed project was held Jan. 21; about 20 residents attended. Most were opposed.

"The city has 80 miles of streets, and if we reconstruct 1 mile per year, it would take 80 years to complete the system," wrote Public Works Director/City Engineer Craig Gray in a memorandum. "Streets are currently designed for a 40- to 50-year life. We must reconstruct some streets each year to prevent falling further behind."


The council also is scheduled to consider its next steps, if any, on the first phase of orderly anenxation.

The majority of the council, however, last week met with Bemidji and Northern township officials, at which the overwhelming majority of participants indicated their preference to hold off on annexation until 2012.