Blaine council addresses multiple road projects

The Blaine City Council Oct. 3 approved final assessment amounts for three road projects and later asked city staff to prepare plans for three future projects.

A project on the city of Blaine’s radar for 2014 is to reconstruct Jefferson Street from 125th Avenue to the northern city limits. It was one of three projects for which the Blaine City Council would like feasibility reports prepared. The council Oct. 3 wrapped up three other projects by approving final assessment amounts. Photo by Eric Hagen

A project on the city of Blaine’s radar for 2014 is to reconstruct Jefferson Street from 125th Avenue to the northern city limits. It was one of three projects for which the Blaine City Council would like feasibility reports prepared. The council Oct. 3 wrapped up three other projects by approving final assessment amounts. Photo by Eric Hagen

City Engineer Jean Keely presented information to the council and reiterated that all assessed property owners were made aware that they have up to 10 years to pay off the assessment with 4.5 percent interest or they could pay the total amount within 30 days of the Oct. 3 public hearing to avoid any interest costs.

Only one property owner spoke during the assessment hearings for the three roads projects.

“The roadway now is in really good shape and I have no problem with the assessment,” said Todd Haas, who is one of 43 property owners facing a $1,304.46 assessment for the reconstruction of Oak Park Boulevard/119th Avenue between 125th Avenue and Jefferson Street, according to the city’s assessment roll.

This reconstruction project was the most expensive of the three completed projects that the council approved assessment rolls.

Although most of the Oak Park Boulevard/119th Avenue assessments are $1,304.46, Blaine Partners, LLC will have to pay $36,337.25, Anoka County will pay almost $14,000 and the owner of the Sterling House of Blaine senior living facility will pay just over $10,000 because they have larger parcels that are charged the commercial rates.

State gas tax revenue distributed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation under the Municipal State Aid program will account for 83.16 percent of this project’s costs, according to Keely. The city’s public utility fund will pay 6.79 percent for the water and sewer improvements that were made. The assessments account for the remaining 10.05 percent.

Reconstructing Hamline Avenue from Edgewood Road to Patriot Lane involved the city of Lexington. Blaine covered 42 percent of the costs, which came to $227,123.68 while Lexington paid the remainder.

Six Blaine parcels will be assessed a total of $99,916.40. Most of the assessments were between $9,100 and $15,600, but the Northeast Metro District 916 Intermediate School District has the largest property by far so it will pay $41,605.28 for this road project. It is constructing a 70,000 square-foot school for special needs students.

The city of Blaine actually will be assessing itself $9,100 for its water tower site, but this money will come from the water utility fund. The pavement management fund pays the remaining $127,207.28 project costs.

To reconstruct Davenport Street from 93rd Lane to 91st Avenue and Isanti Street from 93rd Lane to Radisson Road in an industrial park area cost $527,461.26.

The property owners will pay a total of $232,711.75 for this project while the pavement management fund will pick up the rest. According to the assessment rolls, 26 of the 35 parcels will face an assessment of less than $5,825, while a couple will pay not much more than that. However, the seven largest property owners will pay between $11,020 and $19,173.

New road projects

As Blaine closed out these three projects, three new ones were placed on the council’s agenda.

The projects on which the council ordered preparation of feasibility reports are Jefferson Street from 125th Avenue to the northern city limits, Able Street from Highway 10 to 89th Avenue and the east Central Avenue service road from 87th to 89th avenues.

Able and Jefferson streets are designated by the city as Municipal State Aid routes that can handle higher amounts of traffic compared with the typical city street, so similar to Oak Park Boulevard/119th Avenue, revenue from MnDOT will help pay for these projects.

On the other hand, the service road project will only be funded locally.

Keely said the city evaluates all of its streets each year before bringing options back to the council.

Councilmember Kathy Kolb said residents along Jefferson Street have “waited a long time for this project,” and she said the city will seek their input prior to any project moving forward.

When Able Street was brought up, Councilmember Dick Swanson and Kolb stressed that this is an important project to get done.

“I drove it again tonight and it’s in pretty rough shape,” Keely said at the Oct. 3 council meeting.

The feasibility report is the first engineering document that spells out what the project could entail and estimated costs, but as evidenced by the three completed projects on the council held assessment hearings Oct. 3, the final costs could be lower than the estimate.

The next step beyond the feasibility report would be to have a public hearing before finalizing the plans and specifications that contractors would need before seeking and voting on actual bids.

“We always hold an informational meeting with the residents on each of our projects prior to the public hearing where you consider whether or not to order the improvements,” Keely said.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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