Council Moves Street Project Forward

By Katie Friedman, Correspondent

At its most recent meeting, Tuesday, February 20, the Maple Lake City Council conducted a public hearing and authorized preparation of plans and specifications for the 2018 Street Improvement Project.

The project area includes properties in the Jude residential neighborhood and is intended to rectify surface conditions and problematic sump pump discharge into the streets. Streets in the proposed project area were originally constructed between 1991 and 1998 and include portions of Seventh and Eighth Streets Northwest (from Robert to Oak), Robert Avenue North (from the north end to Sixth), Maple and Birch Avenues North (from Seventh to Sixth), and Sixth Street Northwest from the city park to Birch Avenue.

Improvements will include complete bituminous removal and replacement for the full neighborhood through a process known as bituminous reclamation, which was used for the Maplewood neighborhood project in 2016.

The project will also include installing storm sewer and drain tile along edges of the streets to help drain the street base including stubs to lots, offering an optional outlet for residential sump pumps. The project does not include replacement of sanitary sewer or water mains, so the amount of required excavation will be limited, Gravel said.

For this project, two options are being considered for curb replacement. Option one calls for spot repair of about 15 percent of the most damaged sections of concrete curb in the project area. Option two would involve complete curb replacement on Robert Avenue North, the western 450 feet of Eighth Street North, and the western 350 feet of Seventh Street North. Remaining areas would have spot repair of the most damaged sections.

Total estimated cost of the project is $851,000 for the base option and $942,000 for option two. Whichever option the council selects, the City of Maple Lake – that is to say, its taxpayers – will be responsible for 65 percent of the cost, with assessments to cover about 35 percent, along with a small boost from tax increment financing (TIF) funds. For the $851,000 base option, assessments would pay $248,705, TIF would cover $50,480 and the city’s responsibility would be $551,815. For the $942,000 option, $280,555 would be assessed, supported by $50,480 in TIF money, and $610,965 from the city.

Proposed assessment rates for a single- family residential unit are $3,070 per parcel, plus a potential $1,028 per parcel for the full curb replacement, should that option be selected. Assessments are generally payable with interest over an eight-year period. Commercial property is proposed to be assessed at $34.39 per frontage foot.

The hearing – which included a presentation by City Engineer Phil Gravel followed by a public comment and question opportunity – was attended by close to a dozen people. While one Jude area resident offered positive comments on the drain tile improvements, others questioned the project’s necessity and expressed displeasure at their proposed assessments.

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