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Bemidji City Council OKs road projects; Gray says plan will cost just over $3.1 million

No one verbally objected to the council's plans to reconstruct portions of five city streets this summer.

The council, after holding a public hearing Monday on the 2011 Street Renewal Project, voted unanimously to authorize the project and call for bids, which will be opened in April.

The street project will reconstruct about 1.2 miles of city streets and improve or replace underground utility mains.

One person addressed the council during the public hearing, during which she asked for information about how the properties she owned would be assessed.

Craig Gray, the public works director/city engineer, said that five people attended a neighborhood meeting on the proposed project in January. Five people attended and none voiced real strong objections.

Roadways slated for improvement are:

- Minnesota Avenue Northwest between Eighth Street Northwest and 15th Street Northwest.

- Eighth Street Northwest from Beltrami Avenue Northwest to Mississippi Avenue Northwest.

- 10th Street Northwest from Irvine Avenue North to Park Avenue Northwest.

- 12th Street Northwest from Irvine Avenue North to Park Avenue Northwest.

- 24th Street Northwest from Irvine Avenue North to Park Avenue Northwest.

Councilors asked about sidewalk improvements, specifically whether 24th Street - now a gravel road - will be improved with sidewalks.

Gray said that was not possible, although it was looked into.

There really is no feasible way to install sidewalks without adding curb and gutter and "significant" storm water systems to keep water from backing up into the residents' yards, he said.

Gray said most of the streets do have sidewalks now, but there are a few sections of 10th Street that only have half-blocks of sidewalks.

Those will be completed, he said.

Mayor Dave Larson asked about a narrow section of 12th Street Northwest, near Park Avenue Northwest.

Gray said the narrow section there will be expanded to a 28-foot width. The city has purchased a vacant lot there that will allow for the widening of the roadway.

The streets were selected due to their poor surfaces, poor storm water surface drainage and age and deterioration of underground utility mains, according to Craig Gray, the city engineer/public works director.

The project is expected to cost just over $3.1 million ($3,115,210).

Assessments would cover about 13 percent of the total cost. Street assessments will total about $264,789 and utility service assessments will total $136,960.

Benefitting property owners will be charged $38 per front foot. Those receiving new utility serves will be assessed $1,070 for each service line received. The assessment rates are to be the same as in 2009 and 2010.

Other revenue sources are as follows:

- $671,078, federal aid street funds.

- $530,000, water utility fund.

- $505,000, city street bonds.

- $350,000, sewer utility fund.

- $347,383, storm water utility fund.

- $310,000, municipal state aid fund.