Blaine council approves multiple parks, streets bids

The Blaine City Council May 15 unanimously approved approximately $5.6 million in parks and streets projects this year.

“I think we’re going to have every contractor in the state working,” Councilmember Russ Herbst commented after the council approved the last contract of the evening for street reconstruction projects.

The new playground at the Lexington Athletic Complex in northeast Blaine will pay homage to the old Finn Farm, whose land and old barn building is being replaced by a new housing development. Photo courtesy of city of Blaine

The new playground at the Lexington Athletic Complex in northeast Blaine will pay homage to the old Finn Farm, whose land and old barn building is being replaced by a new housing development. Photo courtesy of city of Blaine

Most of the money will be dedicated to build the 38-acre Lexington Athletic Complex at the corner of 120th and Lexington avenues. This includes a $3.44 million contract with Ebert Construction to build the park, just under $200,500 for a playground and some other equipment from Minnesota/Wisconsin Playground, just shy of $600,000 for Graybar Electric Company to install the field lighting, about $112,000 for parking lot and trail lighting from Connexus Energy, just over $11,000 to pay for a security system from Pro-Tech Design that includes nine cameras with infrared capabilitie, and $82,100 to SFR Consulting Group for construction management.

Funding is coming from developer park dedication fees and the capital improvement fund that had been set up in 1995 to use different development fee revenues and general fund excess revenue to pay for projects that the council deems are of a citywide benefit, according to Finance Director Joe Huss. This account has not received any new revenue from these two sources for a number of years and has only grown by interest earnings.

Robert Therres, public services manager, said the park would take seven to eight months to construct, but grass playing fields would likely not be ready for use until the summer of 2015 so the roots have time to grow stronger. The fields will be seeded rather than sod being used.

One of the keynote features will be a park building that will have a similar appearance to the nearby old Finn Farm barn that will be demolished to make way for new housing by Paxmar Development, which sold the future Lexington Athletic Complex land to the city in July 2012.

The playground also plays on the farm theme with slide structures resembling a barn and a tractor. Kids could also climb over replica hay bales or sway back and forth on top of small farm animals.

The Lexington Athletic Complex will also include two ball fields for baseball and softball, four multi-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and football, a full basketball court, three tennis courts that could be used for pickleball, and a hockey rink.

Therres said both ball fields, all three tennis or pickleball courts, the hockey rink and two of the four multi-use fields could be lit with the new light towers.

“I am glad we are ahead of this on the lighting before you get 100 homes around there,” Herbst said.

Therres said the city will use GIS mapping to document the location of all underground electric lines and irrigation pipes so that the city has a record of where everything is.

Aquatore Park

The council approved an approximately $471,000 bid from Forest Lake Contracting to construct a new softball field at Aquatore Park.

Field No. 1 at Aquatore Park was removed when Fogerty Arena constructed its new curling arena. This will be a field replacement project.

Therres said Fogerty Arena will be contributing $175,000 to this project, according to the terms of its contract with the city.

Street projects

North Valley Inc., of Nowthen, was the low bidder on a $287,385 contract for pavement overlays in four areas of the community and a contract of just over $395,000 for street reconstruction projects in the D. Erickson 4th Addition and Jackson Place neighborhoods.

Property owners adjacent to these street project areas will be assessed.

City Engineer Jean Keely previously told the council that in areas by streets being overlayed, the rate per residential lot is $539 while parcels zoned commercial or industrial and multi-family residential will face a $10.77 per front foot assessment.

As for the street reconstruction areas, the D. Erickson neighborhood assessment is estimated to be $1,288.50 per lot and the Jackson Place neighborhood assessment could be $1,206.52 per lot.

Assessment hearings will take place this fall. This is where the final assessment amount based on actual costs and the interest rate is set, according to Keely.

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

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