June 1, 2007

Delano council discusses upcoming Highway 12 project

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

In an update to the Delano City Council at a special workshop Tuesday, City Administrator Phil Kern discussed with the city council several points of interest on the upcoming Highway 12 reconstruction project, slated for a June 2008 start.

Kern updated the council about the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s meeting that took place in April at the city hall regarding Highway 12 reconstruction plans.

The meeting provided a forum for the city to present schedules and detour routes, among other things to chamber members and the general public, as well as provide the opportunity for those present to ask questions.

“The meeting was a good forum,” Kern said. “There were about 200 people there.”

Several people in attendance asked questions specifically about sidewalks along the highway. Kern said the city conducted public hearings before the plans were approved, and at this point, the decision process has been followed, and the decisions have been made.

He said rather than go back on decisions that have been made, the city hopes to move forward “full-steam ahead” with the project, and work with people to see how the city can assist them in getting through the project.

The council discussed the sidewalks planned for along Highway 12, and noted that while there will be maintenance and snow removal issues, the sidewalks will hopefully keep pedestrians off the highway.

“I don’t think the number of people walking on the sidewalks will be very high, anyway,” Council Member Larry Bartels said.

Kern also updated the council on a group of businesspeople who have been meeting weekly to discuss concerns about the reconstruction project, as well as ways to possibly improve signage during and after the project.

It was noted that while the city is sympathetic about the issue, there are still limitations and sign ordinances that will be in effect. The billboards on Highway 12, including the one for Dave’s Town Club, were grandfathered in.

Council Member Marc Plese said the first time he and his wife were in Delano, they ate at Dave’s Town Club because of that sign.

“The sign worked,” Plese said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have known what’s downtown.”

Kern said one thing that’s in the works for 2009 is a stone entry monument, but the group is most likely hoping for something more immediate.

As the conversation shifted to parking issues during the reconstruction project, Kern said he expects to get an answer from Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) regarding any parking on River Street north of Bridge Avenue during the project. MnDOT typically does not allow parking on detour routes – which River Street would be.

It was noted the city expects to lose a few parking spots on each side of the River Street/Bridge Avenue intersection, but is inquiring about additional parking options north on River Street.

Other parking options the city is looking at include approaching owners of the Granite Works building and the former Mike’s Corner Market location within the next month or so about additional temporary parking options for during the project.

The council also looked at concept drawings of the Highway 12 bridge over the Crow River, which a subcommittee has been working on landscaping and design options for.

“MnDOT will pay for 7 percent above and beyond the cost of the bridge for aesthetic improvements,” Kern said, adding that the city does not expect to see a bill for aesthetic improvements. The council also discussed different lighting options for the project.

The city shares 50 percent of the lighting costs with MnDOT, Kern said. MnDOT is proposing 80 lights to go through town, and allows $5,000 per light, which at 80 lights, would equal $400,000 – with the city being responsible for $200,000.

Anything above that, should the city want to look at different styles of lights, would be the city’s responsibility. The city is working with a company to look at different options available, as well determine cost estimates, with funds coming from the Highway 12 capital improvement fund.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• adopted a resolution for the Crow River Villa’s management assessment for public housing agencies. Mayor Joe McDonald was absent.

• discussed the possible purchase of land on Second Street North owned by Scott Shoutz, across from the Juke Box. The council will continue discussion of the possible purchase at Tuesday’s regular city council meeting.

• discussed upcoming park improvements, and heard that Landscape Structures is looking to donate one or two climbing play structures locally to be used for photos for its display purposes.

• discussed the sink in the concession stand at Central Park not working.

• heard about a sanitary sewer issue on Third Street North. Following discussion, it was decided the matter can be submitted to its insurance company.

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