By Nan Royce
HOWARD LAKE Residents of Howard Lake’s Imhoff Avenue arrived en masse for Tuesday’s city council meeting, to push for their road to be fixed quickly.
The residents said the road is in horrible condition.
The city’s recently-updated capital improvement plan backs the residents’ claims.
The plan ranks Imhoff Avenue as a “high-need” roadway due to pavement deterioration and settlement that has occurred since the road was reconstructed in the mid 1990s.
City engineer Sheila Krohse was present to discuss three options for Imhoff Avenue. She reviewed the options for the residents. Options include:
• Preserving the roadway structure by performing a mill and overlay, at an estimated cost of $300,000.
• Rebuilding the roadway to its current width. This option would include excavating the existing material and rebuilding it with geotextile fabric, select granular, new Class 5 gravel, and two lifts of pavement, drain tile, and an 18-inch ribbon curve, at an estimated cost of $1,108,000.
• Rebuilding the road structure to a typical residential road standard, with a road width of 36 feet, curb face to curb face. This option would include new storm sewer, pipe and drain tile, at an estimated cost of $1,652,000.
Krohse seemed sympathetic to the residents’ requests, but noted other areas of the city rank higher on the list of needed improvements.
Specifically, Krohse pointed to the northwest area of the city and 8th Avenue, which are suffering with deteriorated pavement, as well as old and potentially failing utilities.
City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller said the city typically has not assessed residents for expensive projects, but has covered those projects via budget planning and utility bills.
Haggenmiller also said city staffers were well-aware that most city growth is anticipated to occur north of Imhoff Avenue.
Haggenmiller said budgeting currently plans for a bond in 2018 to cover some of the city’s most needed street projects.
“You being here really speaks volumes,” Haggenmiller said. “It speaks really, really loudly.”
Krohse said it was probable Imhoff residents would see many more good years by implementing the $1.1 million option, as opposed to the $300,000 option. She indicated the $300,000 option might not resolve the Imhoff Avenue’s settlement issues.
Mayor Pete Zimmerman expressed concern that the $300,000 option was really like a bandage for the street, and wanted to make sure any fix was done correctly.
Haggenmiller said that even the $300,000 repair would be a “big hit” to city finances.
“We don’t have the money right now,” Zimmerman said. “We’re not ignoring it, we’re just not fixing it right now. We’re trying to look at the big picture.”