Pierz Council decides to hold off for a year on proposed road projects

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
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The Robert Street and Park Avenue road projects proposed in Pierz for 2012, have officially been pushed back to 2013.

The Council decided Monday night, that to get all of its ducks in a row with easements, planning and coordination with its Safe Routes to School (SRTS) project, putting it off was its best bet.

The Council learned that the easement needed near a home in foreclosure on the corner of Park Avenue and Robert Street was going to take a bit longer to facilitate. The property had been transferred from the Wells Fargo Bank to Housing and Urban Development  (HUD).

And too, the SRTS project memorandum had not yet been submitted because of the easement issues.

Until the memorandum has been finished and submitted to the state, nothing else can be started on the project, Hedlund told the Council at an earlier meeting. That may push the start of the project into late summer, not allowing enough time for completion.

Some of the biggest reasons to hold off on the project is that pairing the road projects with the SRTS project, would prevent residents from having to live through two summers of construction.

In addition, Hedlund said getting the bids in the spring is “historically better.”

The Rich Prairie Sewer and Water District (RPSWD) was going to coordinate infrastructure improvements as well.

Hedlund said postponing the projects would allow RPSWD to work on some lift station issues it was dealing with.

“The planning phase can be completed this year, with construction next year,” said Hedlund.

“We can use the extra year of time to plan,” said City Administrator Anna Gruber. “We can start in early spring and get better bid prices and the contractor we want.”

Pierz City Council Briefs

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the Pierz City Council:

• Approved the city’s auditor’s recommendations in combining and closing funds to clean up the city’s books;

• Learned there was a sidewalk issue near Thielen Meats in Pierz resulting from work done during the Highway 25 project in 2010. City staff was authorized to take photos of the sidewalk and to document where the issues are to present to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). The city’s engineer, Scott Hedlund with Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH), said a warranty may be in effect for the work and offered to look into the situation;

• Approved a $2,000 donation request from Pierz Community Services, as the city has done in years past;

• Approved a gambling permit for St. Joseph’s Church for its Aug. 5 church bazaar;

• Approved an out-of-state travel policy for city employees, as required by the state auditor;

• Tabled a decision on a city credit card use policy, until clarification is made as to who can use city credit or who can be authorized to use city credit;

• Accepted a $1,639 grant from Morrison County to be used for the city’s recycling program and a $640 grant for the city’s cleanup day. The city’s cleanup day is typically scheduled for the last Saturday in April, following the Pierz garage sale days. On cleanup day, appliances can be brought for recycling at no charge and electronics for a low fee;

• Learned planning has begun in collaboration with the ag/landscaping classes at Healy High School to plant flowers that will be placed along Main Street in May; and

• Learned Pierz and other cities in Morrison County sent surveys to students to involve student groups in generating ideas for future city services. The Council had copies of the returned surveys from students in Ruth Stuckmayer’s class at Pierz Healy High School.

The Pierz City Council will next meet at 7 p.m., Monday, March 12, at City Hall.