Ramsey, developers agree on terms for utility extension

Staff Writer
I cover the cities of Andover, Blaine and Ramsey. I have worked at ABC Newspapers since August 2007.

As Ramsey sees more interest from companies for starting a new business park and a 300-home development, it is contemplating fronting the costs of a sewer and water extension.

The city in 2006 extended Bunker Lake Boulevard, along with sewer and water utilities, west of Armstrong Boulevard when it thought that a private Christian school would be moving its campus from Andover.

Meadow Creek Christian School, which later changed its name to Legacy Christian Academy, never came to Ramsey.

PSD, LLC has a deal to buy 45 acres from Hageman Holdings so it can get started on a business park development. The east portion of the property PSD is buying already has the sewer and water it needs because of that previous extension.

Hageman owns 107 acres of developable property on both sides of Bunker Lake Boulevard.

Capstone Homes is buying 88 acres from the Pearson family for a 300-home development, requiring access to city sewer and water. Puma Street will need to be updated to handle the traffic.

Patrick Brama, assistant city administrator and economic development manager, said the total cost for utility and street upgrades would be $3.68 million. The city would fund the trunk water and sewer extension through its city utility fund, leaving a funding gap of $2.62 million.

Brama said the city’s normal policy would be to assess the developer 40 percent of these remaining costs. He said Capstone Homes felt that the city should have already extended the utilities all the way to Puma Street when it did the plat for Legacy Christian Academy.

Ultimately, Capstone Homes said it would pay 16 percent of the $1.18 million cost for the non-trunk sewer and water line extension to Puma Street while Hageman Holdings will pay 24 percent and the city will pay 60 percent.

For the Puma Street work, the non-trunk sewer and water line work is slated to cost $1.44 million. The city would cover 60 percent and Capstone would cover the remaining 40 percent.

Hageman Holdings is already paying the city $170,000 per year for the previous Bunker Lake Boulevard extension. Its share will only be due when it closes on a land sale, according to Brama.

The Ramsey City Council on April 25 approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Capstone Homes and Hageman Holdings. City Engineer Bruce Westby told the council that it would vote on May 23 whether to approve the plans and specs for this work and advertise for bids.

The vote for whether to approve bids for this work would not come until June 27.

Westby said the new utilities could be in the ground by the end of August if the council approves the work.

While Council Member Chris Riley is excited about these developments, he does not want the city to move too fast in putting down utilities for projects that may not materialize.

He voted yes on April 25 since it only authorized Westby to work on the documents that contractors would bid on and it doesn’t yet authorize construction.

“I’m very excited about it, but I absolutely don’t want the city getting too far in front of this and want to make sure we put a couple of checks in place to make sure the city doesn’t build infrastructure for a development that doesn’t end up coming,” he said.

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