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Howard Lake to try new soy-based street sealant
Aug. 10, 2015

Tara Mathews
Correspondent

HOWARD LAKE, MN – Howard Lake City Council approved a seal coating project Tuesday for portions of 12th Street, 6th Avenue, 13th Street, and 9th Street that will use a non-traditional material.

City maintenance supervisor Tim Kosek researched a soy-based sealcoating product, and received a letter from the City of Hutchinson regarding its experience with the product, he said.

“After reading the letter from the City of Hutchinson, I’m convinced,” Council Member Tom Kutz stated.

“Hutchinson has had good luck with the soy-based product,” Kosek noted.

The soy-based sealcoating product extends the life of the existing tar, he added.

“Traditional sealcoats just coat the top of the tar,” city engineer Sheila Krohse said. “But the soy-based is supposed to soak in. I don’t have experience with it myself, but I have heard good things about it.”

“The key is getting it on the tar within three years,” Kosek said.

No sealcoating products are effective on old roads, Krohse noted.

The soy-based product will also help melt snow more quickly, and it is waterproof, so rainwater will “whisk off of the road,” Kosek said.

“The price difference is not that significant, if the product works as well as it’s supposed to,” City Administrator Jennifer Nash commented.

A $31,218 bid for a traditional sealcoat was received from Pearson Brothers of Hanover; and a $38,169 bid for the soy-based sealcoat was received from Bargen of Mountain Lake.

Due to new legislation, the city was granted an additional $27,891 from the state for street maintenance. Half of the total amount, $13,696, was received by city staff last week.

“If the price difference were more drastic, I would be more leery,” Mayor Pete Zimmerman stated. “But $7,000 isn’t terrible.”

Bargen will clean and prepare the surface, complete the coating, and control traffic in the work area.

“They close one half of the street while working on it, but will keep the other lane open,” Kosek said.

The coated side of the street will remain closed for the one-hour drying period, as well.

The soy-based application process is the same as traditional sealcoating products, but is expected to last longer, and prevent cracks from happening, Kosek noted.

“It’s like putting lotion on, but for the street,” he stated.

The project is expected to begin within a month.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• granted an easement for a utility pole, owned by Xcel Energy, that had to be moved because it was in the way of the new city sign. The pole was moved to the west side of the property, and has been moved twice due to not having a proper easement. Xcel Energy also dug holes for the city sign while moving the pole, Krohse noted.

• tabled discussion of improvements to the Lions Park playground area. The project would include a curb around the playground area and new mulch under playground equipment.

Kosek will seek bids for the curb, and have a recommendation at the next meeting, he said.

• accepted a $750 donation for the Howard Lake Lions from the Maple Lake Lions.

• conducted a closed meeting to discuss real estate negotiations. After the closed meeting, the council approved a purchase agreement with Mass Finishings of Howard Lake. The company owns a parcel in the industrial park and wants to purchase an adjacent two-acre parcel. An agreement with the city is contingent on signing a development agreement, a minimum assessed-value agreement, and a tax increment financing (TIF) agreement.

Closing is expected to take place about Oct. 5, and the building is expected to be constructed this year.

“We are pleased to see the success of Howard Lake industrial park resident Mass Finishings, and look forward to helping their business continue to grow here in Howard Lake,” Zimmerman noted.

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