Anoka streets will see upgrades

Managing Editor
Mandy has been with ABC Newspapers since 2007, when she joined the staff as the editor of the Anoka County Union. She has been the managing editor of the UnionHerald and Blaine Spring Lake Park Life since 2014.

Anoka City Council agreed to go out for bids on two major street renewal projects that are estimated to cost the city $6.15 million.

Targeted for upgrades this year are Brisbin and some neighboring streets, along with the Christian Hill neighborhood.

The Brisbin area project includes 10th Avenue (121st Avenue to Jefferson Street), Adams Street (10th Avenue to east city limits), Brisbin Street (Ninth Avenue to 10th Avenue), Washington Street (Ninth Avenue to east city limits).

The estimated cost of this project is $2.18 million and will include complete reconstruction of the streets, utility replacements, street lights and other improvements, and stormwater improvements for Brisbin Street neighborhood.

According to engineering technician Ben Nelson, 21 percent of the project will be paid for by assessments to benefiting property owners. There are 67 parcels within the project’s limits.

The assessment is $6,520 on a typical 80-foot frontage.

Council Members remarked that 21 percent is a good deal for Anoka residents, considering some communities charge their residents 50 or even 100 percent of the project.

Anoka’s target has been 25 percent. But that has been a challenge, Mayor Phil Rice said.

“While we keep trying to hit that moving target, the residents are getting some benefits of sharing because, of course, the whole community is paying for the street renewal project,” Rice said last month when the council was considering the project.

The Christian Hill neighborhood project will also include a complete street reconstruction, utility replacements, storm water upgrades and construction of a mini round-about.

The streets to be included are Third Avenue (Washington Street to Monroe Street), Fourth Avenue (Washington to Monroe), Adams Street (Second Avenue to Fourth Avenue), Cross Street (Fourth Avenue to Fifth Avenue), Madison Street (Second Avenue to Fifth Avenue), Military Road (Fourth Avenue to Fifth Avenue) and Washington Street (Fourth Avenue to Fifth Avenue).

This project is anticipated to cost $3.97 million, with 19 percent paid for through assessments.

With large public buildings in the area, including Zion Lutheran Church and the Anoka Middle School for the Arts’ Fred Moore Campus, extra planning has gone into the project.

“There are elements of this neighborhood that will affect the schedule,” Nelson said.

The projects are anticipated to start in May and be substantially complete by Oct. 27.

These two street renewal projects have prompted discussion among the council and the residents who live in the neighborhoods affected.

Several property owners have made investments in the aging sewer systems that serve their homes over the past 15 years.

While the city has a policy in place for owners who made upgrades within the last 10 years, they are going to talk more about what to do for systems that fall just outside of that window. If a property owner replaced the sewer connection within the last five years, the sewer charge is waived; within the last 10 years, it is reduced to 50 percent.

Anoka resident Barb Thurston talked about major expenses she and her neighbors incurred when they banded together to do upgrades more than 15 years ago. While that infrastructure is still functional, it does fall outside of the city’s current policy for assessment adjustments.

The city plans to discuss those issues at a work session next month.

“There are times that I believe that, even though we have a policy, we can look at things and say for this reason or for that reason we can change things,” Rice said.

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