By Ryan Gueningsman
Concerns and attendance were down at the most recent Highway 12 business task force meeting, and members spent most of the morning hearing updates on the project, and also planning ways to continue to market “Delano: Open for Business.”
Several marketing ideas, including a business bingo effort, which could pay prizes in Delano Dollars, and an event dubbed the “Taste of Delano,” set for Wednesday, July 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the city park, were discussed at the meeting.
“What we’re planning is to feature the multitude of restaurants in Delano,” said task force co-chairperson John Tackaberry, noting the night will be an event, showcasing the local restaurants and other businesses, and also have entertainment and activities for children.
After the meeting, Tackaberry said Chopper the World’s Nuttiest DJ has confirmed to play the event, and said it will be just that an event.
In addition to the local restaurant showcase, the event will also feature a number of door prizes, and be a “family-fun event at a nominal cost,” Tackaberry said. The only thing that’ll cost will be an armband to get in everything at the park will be free.
Advance tickets to the event will be available mid-June at State Bank of Delano, Crow River Bank, and also at the Delano City Hall at the reduced price of $7 for adults and $3 for children. At the event, tickets will cost $10 for adults, and $5 for children. Watch for more details on the Taste of Delano in future editions of the Delano Herald Journal.
Sub-committees of the task force will meet in the near future to continue planning the Taste of Delano and business bingo.
During the update portion of the meeting, president of Crow River State Bank, Dwight Bacon, said he felt things were going fairly well, and said crews have been doing a good job of keeping a way open to businesses in his area.
He did express concern about when deeper sanitary sewer work would be done, and said the bank could potentially be “land-locked.”
City Engineer Vince Vander Top of Wenck Associates said crews have to allow business access, and also presented an update on the project to those present at the meeting. Like the recent task force meeting, Vander Top said the weekly update meetings have had minimal attendance, which he feels means things are going well, or that issues that arise are being handled on the spot.
Some of the next steps for construction include curb and gutter on Highway 12 from Ninth Street east to County Line Road, with this being on track for an opening on or before July 1. Having this stretch of the highway opened again may alleviate some of the traffic cutting through St. Peter Avenue north of Coborn’s, it was noted.
Vander Top said work continues to be done on the east bridge abutment, and said in the near future, the existing bridge will begin being prepared for removal. The bridge will be cut and pieces will be picked up and lifted off of it, he explained.
For the past few months of the project, construction crews have been using the existing bridge as a route for hauling materials across. Vander Top said once the prep work begins to tear down the bridge, it will no longer be able to be utilized for truck traffic. The target date to take down the bridge is Monday, June 16.
With trucks being unable to haul materials across the existing bridge, more truck traffic may funnel into the downtown area to cross the Crow River on Bridge Avenue.
Vander Top said Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is very close to having a truck detour in place for through traffic, and said it could be in effect as soon as this week.
Trucks would be re-routed around Delano, coming from the west, on Wright County Road 14 north to Highway 55. Once on Highway 55, trucks would pass through Rockford, crossing the Crow River, and continuing on to Hennepin County Road 92, where they can again head south and back to Highway 12.
Due to an overlay project Hennepin County has in the works, the truck detour most likely will only be in effect until Oct. 1, in order to allow time for its project to happen before winter.
Traffic control on the detour route was also discussed, with Vander Top noting the last day troopers will be working the intersections of Highway 12/Bridge Avenue and Bridge Avenue/River Street was May 30. He said MnDOT felt that, with the ending of the school year, the split-phasing at the stoplights, as well as the truck detour being in place, traffic may flow well without the troopers being there.
Vander Top said that area is a strong concern and said it’s something that’ll continue to be watched closely. It was also noted the Wright County Sheriff’s Office has been patrolling the detour route, enforcing speed limits and other traffic regulations.
“I think they’re doing a good job in controlling speeds,” Tackaberry said.
With Highway 12 being done from County Line Road to Ninth Street in the near future, members of the task force discussed relocating signage to point people straight ahead to get to certain businesses.
“Signage will be ongoing for the duration of the project,” Vander Top said, noting there is no magic formula for the best signage scenarios.
Upcoming meetings this week for Hwy. 12
The City of Delano and MnDOT conduct weekly construction updates every Tuesday morning where people can hear updates and voice concerns about the project.
The next meeting will take place Tuesday, June 3 at 11:15 a.m. at the Delano City Hall.