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Proposed road improvements discussed at town hall meeting
February 21, 2020

Jodie Murray
Correspondent

COKATO, MN – Cokato City Council members hosted a town hall meeting Feb. 12, to provide residents information on the proposed Central City Road and Improvement Project.

The council provided an overview of the impact to property owners, cost of the project, and a timeline.

City Engineer Josh Halvorson of Bolton & Menk gave residents a tour of each of the presentation boards, with an explanation of what the project meant and what type of cost property owners can expect.

He then led an explanation of the tables that contained a map of the system.

Each resident had the opportunity to make a note on anything important that the city should note pertaining to their property, if affected, such as invisible fencing or a large family gathering during the project months. Underground improvements, such as invisible fencing should be clearly marked. The city will not be responsible for any damage.

Shelly Eldridge of Ehlers, the city’s municipal financial planning firm, was also available during the town hall meeting to speak regarding the overall cost to the city and the cost impact to residents.

According to Council Member Jarod Sebring, residents who he has spoken to in recent weeks about the project were widely supportive, once they learned the facts.

He pointed out that there is always going to be opposition in any type of city change, but this change benefits the community.

Impact to property owners

The reconstruction project includes restoration of the streets, and improvement to the sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and watermain.

Streets affected during Phase 1 are:

• 4th Street SW;

• 4th Street SE (Broadway to Lee Ave);

• 6th Street SE (Broadway to Lee Ave);

• Millard Avenue SW; and

• Mooers Avenue SE.

Parking on any of these streets will affect residents, but the city will make every effort to allow access as quickly as possible.

While work on sewer and water services are being handled, disruption to those services is possible on occasion. If the city expects a long disruption, prior notice will be provided.

Addition to storm water utility

The overall project cost is $8.8 million, funded by the addition of a proposed storm water fee, rather than a property tax levy. All customers, including all tax-exempt customers, will be charged a storm water fee of $9.75 a month.

Future forecasts with the addition to this sewer fund could limit tax increases. The storm water fee will pay for actual costs, like the water and sewer fees.

Timeline

Halvorson indicated that the city is currently in the designing phase of the project, which will be followed with bids for work.

Construction is expected to begin during the month of May, depending on weather. Most of the work should be wrapped up in October, with final completion during spring 2021.

Phase 2 of the project is tentatively planned to begin with preliminary engineering this summer, and construction beginning in spring 2021. According to the timeline provided, this phase should be fully concluded by spring 2022.

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