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Council pushes forward on 2019 road renewal

BEMIDJI--Another green light was given to the Public Works Department by the Bemidji City Council for the 2019 street renewal project. During its meeting Tuesday, the council approved a $1.8 million bid from Reierson Construction for the project,...

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A crew works to pave a portion of the Third Street and Highway 197/Bemidji Avenue intersection on Monday in downtown Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI-Another green light was given to the Public Works Department by the Bemidji City Council for the 2019 street renewal project.

During its meeting Tuesday, the council approved a $1.8 million bid from Reierson Construction for the project, which will renovate six city streets. The method of reconstructing several roads in one project is done annually by the city through its Street Renewal Program, with the selected corridors usually being close together.

In 2019, the project will reconstruct the following sections of road:

• Gemmel Avenue, from Paul Bunyan Drive to the end of the road at a cul-de-sac.

• Eighth Street Northeast, from Bemidji Avenue to Lake Boulevard.

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• Dewey Avenue, from Eighth Street to 10th Street.

• Pershing Avenue, from First Street East to Third Street.

• McKinley Avenue, from Third Street to Fourth Street.

Along with pavement improvements, the project will also include upgrades for sidewalks, gutters, curbs and water systems.

The bid approved Tuesday night did come in at $108,097 more than the initial $1.7 million estimate by City Engineer Craig Gray. As a result, Gray said the difference will come from the city's construction reserve fund.

When factoring in the design, engineering and inspection costs, the project comes to a total of $2.08 million.

Another item the council discussed Tuesday was the city's revolving loan fund. The fund is made up of leftover dollars from state and federal grants received by the city. The dollars are used for loans to help developments expected to have an economic impact.

Because the guidelines haven't been updated since 2010, the revolving loan committee made some revisions, and on Tuesday, Fund Administrator Tiffany Fettig approached the council for approval.

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"There were some textual changes needed in the policy and appendix," City Manager Nate Mathews told the Pioneer. "We wanted the council to provide some input on areas where we provide extra incentives for development."

The guidelines specify Lake Bemidji's South Shore and the Rail Corridor near downtown as the two areas for incentive priority. During the meeting, Mathews said the council opted to have the two areas remain as the two specified in the guidelines.

In addition to reviewing what areas should take priority, guideline revisions have also been made for consistency.

"We updated the policy with current state statutes," Mathews said. "We also did some research and found that previously, loans could be issued out to beyond the city limits. But we recently found that's not the case. So, it can now only be used for developments in the city limits."

Following Fettig's presentation, the revisions were approved by the council.

Related Topics: BEMIDJI CITY COUNCIL
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