By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Even though the plans are not yet finalized, a landscaping partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation was entered into Tuesday by the Delano City Council for landscaping materials along the Highway 12 corridor.
As construction continues on Highway 12 and Bridge Avenue, plans have been in the works for landscaping along the corridor, which includes planters, granite monuments, and steel structure monuments at the ends of the Crow River bridge. A Highway 12 aesthetics committee and the city council have been discussing plans, costs, and options for the landscaping for months.
Following an open house for property owners along the corridor July 21, members of the city council have been reviewing suggestions made by the public and developing the final plans for the landscaping.
“Most of them had comments or suggestions as to how the property adjacent to them should be landscaped,” said City Administrator Phil Kern. “Now, staff is going back, taking residents’ comments, and seeing how the plan can be revised to meet some of their requests.”
An initial plan devised came in about $100,000 over the amount of funds budgeted for the project, so the council directed city staff to eliminate two of the four monuments at the Bridge Avenue bridge.
“The council, in the process of directing us to go out for bids, eliminated two of four bridge structures, which saved about $60,000,” Kern said.
From the Highway 12 phase one construction, there was also a landscape design wall that would contain plantings in the grassy triangle in the area of Highway 12 and Wright County Road 30 that was eliminated from the plans at this time, saving another $50,000.
“I don’t think the wall is necessary to make that a good-looking location,” Council Member Betsy Stolfa commented at the July 21 city council meeting.
Kern said that then put the plans below the budget. He said, if need be, the city can still eliminate more things prior to awarding the contract. The elimination of those things brings the total project cost to about $340,000.
The city has budgeted $300,000 for the landscaping projects along the corridor, and will receive another $60,000 from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, for a total budget of $360,000.
The council asked for bids for the Bridge Avenue portion of the project at its meeting July 21, and will open bids Wednesday, Aug. 12, with a potential contract awarding date to be Tuesday, Aug. 18 at the city council meeting.
“We could have a contractor as soon as late August doing some Bridge Avenue work,” Kern said.
The plans for the remainder of the corridor, including the triangle island at Highway 12 and Wright County Road 30, will be revisited again by the aesthetics committee, MnDOT, and the city council.
When that plan is revised, it will be sent to those who attended the open house, and another review will take place by the council, Kern noted. He said residents have also voiced concerns and comments about the landscaping with individual council members.