Coon Lake Beach roads in East Bethel to be improved

The East Bethel City Council July 18 hired a contractor for the reconstruction of multiple streets within the Coon Lake Beach neighborhood as well as the overlay of two roads elsewhere in East Bethel.

The contract awarded to North Valley, Inc. of Nowthen totaled $736,889.72. The council approved it on a 3-1 vote with Councilmember Bill Boyer voting no. Councilmember Steve Voss was absent.

The majority of the contract is for reconstructing streets in the Coon Lake Beach area. The base bid for this work was $667,558.64.

In addition, the city approved an alternate bid of $22,654.89 for the overlay of 187th Lane between Highway 65 and Ulysses Street.

The city will also pay $29,840 to overlay 245th Avenue, 330 feet west of Highway 65. Although this road is a border between East Bethel and Athens Township, East Bethel agreed to finance 100 percent of this work, according to City Administrator Jack Davis.

The two communities in June signed an agreement that said East Bethel would not try to annex Athens Township for 25 years and it would pay for this road project. Both communities confirmed that this came out of mediation on the Great River Energy transmission line route issue.

Boyer said he voted no because he objected to the city paying for all of the 245th Avenue work.

“I’m all for paving Coon Lake Beach,” Boyer said. “I’m not for paving roads in Athens Township with East Bethel money.”

According to Davis, this road benefits East Bethel much more than Athens Township. The road work is going to the entrance of the Castle Towers mobile home park based in East Bethel and there is only one residential lot in Athens Township along this stretch of 245th Avenue, Davis said.

A separate area of 245th Avenue 2,000 feet east of University Avenue that is currently a dirt road will get a Class 5 paved surface as part of the agreement with Athens Township, but city public works crews and not North Valley, Inc. would be doing this work, he told the Anoka County Union. This work is estimated to cost approximately $10,000, Davis said.

The third alternative bid the council approved was $20,175.13 to make drainage improvements on Bryant Lane and Cedar Road in the Coon Lake Beach area. Davis said catch basins and other storm sewer improvements in low lying areas are what this entails.

Funding for these projects is coming from the city’s street capital fund, which receives an annual transfer from the general fund that is financed by the taxpayer levy. The transfer was most recently budgeted at $425,000 for 2012.

The council in April also requested that 10 percent of the existing street material be reclaimed for the new streets to cut down on costs.

Davis said an overlay usually adds 12 to 15 years to the life of a road, but he anticipates these roads could last longer because of the low speeds people travel.

Councilmember Robert DeRoche Jr. asked if any boat landings were being improved. He did not want the boat landings to be too nice because then more people from outside the area would want to use Coon Lake and he is concerned about invasive species being introduced and damage to the docks.

Davis said the boat landings at Dogwood and Forest roads were not included in the bid package. The Coon Lake Beach Community Center owns these docks and could come to an arrangement with the contractor if it wanted to, he said.

East Bethel previously anticipated spreading these Coon Lake Beach reconstruction projects between 2012 and 2013, but the council in April decided to bump the 2013 projects up to 2012 to get all the work done at once rather than have the residents be burdened for two construction seasons.

Nevertheless, the three main roads that enter the Coon Lake Beach area will still be reconstructed next year. These roads include Longfellow Drive, Lincoln Drive and Laurel Road.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]