Street improvement project gets green light



Following a year’s delay and a small swell of public opposition, the Maple Lake City Council has given a go-ahead to the city’s 2014 Street Improvement Project with two notable revisions: the assessment interest rate has been lowered, and the certification date has been pushed back. 
The decision was reached by a 4-1 vote Tuesday, April 15, with Councilmember John Northenscold remaining consistent in his ongoing dissent for the project’s scope, cost and location. The contract for the work was awarded to LaTour Construction of Maple Lake.
At this month’s meeting, Mayor Lynn Kissock explained that the issues brought forth by residents had been thoroughly reviewed and discussed at a recent council workshop, saying, “There were a couple of things that came to light during that discussion that re-solidified our resolve in continuing with the project.”
 One, she said, was increased water pressure in the water mains (of great benefit in fighting fires), and the other was the repair of a cistern leak that’s been the source of a major infiltration problem.
This project – consisting of street improvements, water-main replacement and sewer repairs to Linden and Park avenues and portions of Division Street – has not had a smooth ride to the finish line. One year ago, the city hosted a public hearing for these same improvements, at which members of the public raised various concerns. A month later, the council opted to delay the project, eventually renaming it the 2014 Street Improvement Project. At March’s public hearing on a proposed special assessment roll, affected residents voiced questions and objections regarding its cost and timing. The council voted 4-1 to adopt the assessment, but delayed moving forward with plans to award the project’s construction contract until slightly more than a dozen written complaints could be examined and discussed. 
More information appears in this week's Messenger.