Little Falls Council approves feasibility studies for five proposed road projects

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
[email protected]

Already in 2012, five road projects have been petitioned for by residents, or recommended by city staff in Little Falls.

Tuesday, the Little Falls City Council approved feasibility studies be done by Bolton and Menk Inc. (BMI) of Ramsey, for each of the projects. This is a first step before the Council makes a decision as to whether any or all of the road projects will be taken on this year.

The feasibility study will cost about $4,000, and will give the Council a full scope of each project, as well as cost estimates for each.

City staff will do the surveying work required and BMI will complete other engineering work for each of the projects, provided the Council approves.

A petition was received for the first project. It includes surface and utility improvements on Seventh Avenue Southwest between Eighth and 10th streets Southwest. If approved, BMI’s engineering services for this project will cost about $11,700.

Another petition received requests improvement of Third Avenue Southeast and extended surface and utilities between 18th Street Southeast and approximately 200 feet east of 18th Street Southeast. Should this project be approved, engineering fees will be about $4,200.

The third street improvement requested includes surface and utility improvements on Eighth Avenue Southwest from Eighth Street to Ninth Street Southwest. Engineer fees will be approximately $6,000 if the project is approved.

Staff initiated a recommendation for surface and utility improvements on First Street Northwest between Broadway and First Avenue Northwest, which runs by the Cass Gilbert Depot. BMI estimates engineering services to cost $10,100 for this project.

Another staff initiated project proposed to improve a future extension to Heron Road (old Highway 371) with surface and/or utility improvements.

This project would include not only surface and utility improvements, but also the addition of road and curb, gutter, sanitary sewer mains and sewer service lines, water mains and water service lines extending from a point on Heron Road approximately 1,183 feet north of the north right of way of Pine Avenue to a point approximately 1,636 feet east and parallel to the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad tracks north of Little Falls.

This project would coincide with a Minnesota Department of Transportation request for such improvements to be made to accommodate a truck station on its property in the area.

BMI estimated engineering fees for this project at about $13,000.

Should the Council say “no” to any of the projects, the proposed engineering fees for unapproved projects would not apply. If the Council approves all of the projects listed, the total cost for engineering fees may not exceed $45,000.

Before any of the projects are considered, affected property owners will be notified and public hearings held.

Little Falls City Council Briefs

In other business at its meeting Tuesday, the Little Falls City Council:

• Approved unanimously the Council committee appointments as presented by Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem. They include: Personnel and Finance Committee — Urban Otremba, chair; VanRisseghem, Don Klinker and Loren Boyum. Public Safety Committee — Leeann Doucette, chair; Klinker, VanRisseghem and Brian-Paul Crowder. Public Works Committee — Frank Gosiak, chair; VanRisseghem, Klinker and Jeremy Hanfler;

• Voted unanimously to name Don Klinker as Council president and Frank Gosiak as Council vice president;

• Heard Carol Anderson, executive director of Community Development of Morrison County report that she had applied for a grant for the bike trail through the city; that Larson Boats now employed 258 employees; and that Community Development has issued 32 loans  from its four or five loan funds. “We have over $2 million that we can work with and $1.7 million is loaned out to businesses in Morrison County,” she said. “Twenty-one of those businesses are in Little Falls, with loans totalling $1.3 million. Of those 21 loans, 12 are for manufacturing companies, six to retailers and three to service companies.”

Anderson said last year, the businesses assisted paid $1.1 million in Morrison County in taxes. Since 1984, more than $20 million in taxes have been paid by companies assisted by Community Development, she said;

• Approved the Morrison County Record as the city’s official newspaper;

• Designated Bank of the West, Bank of Zumbrota and Pine Country Bank for city deposits and payroll accounts for city funds;

• Designated Bank of the West, Bank of Zumbrota, Farmers and Merchants State Bank, Home Savings Bank, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, Pine Country Bank, Randall State Bank, Twin City Federal Savings and Loan, US Bank, Unity Bank and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney as savings institutions to be used by the city;

• Authorized the execution of a $4,000 grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Aeronautics for an $8,000 airport improvement; and

• Was reminded of the two public hearings Monday, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, regarding the proposed annexation of property owned by the Steve Zettel estate on Hilton Road and the rezoning from residential to general business district of property owned by Scott and Raquel Lundberg, located at 301 Third St. S.E.

Although the Little Falls City Council regularly meets the first and third Monday of the month, it will next meet Tuesday, Jan. 17, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Jan. 16.

That Tuesday, the Council will meet in closed session at 5:30 p.m. for union negotiations and will meet in its work session following the closed meeting. The regular meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. All meetings will be held at City Hall.