By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
Eden Valley held its regular council meeting Wednesday, May 6. A public hearing was held as part of the meeting, and the council and about eight members of the public heard from city engineer Kent Louwagie of Bolton & Menk about the proposed 2021 improvement project.
See map below for the proposed project area which includes parts of Rose Avenue East, Coleman Avenue East, Brooks Street North, Maple Street North, and Bell Street. The total estimated cost of the 2021 project will be $2,562,100 which would be funded by a combination of Public Facilities Authority funding (Drinking Water Revolving Fund, and Clean Water Revolving Fund), about $416.200 of city funds, and special assessments to properties that benefit from the project.
The project includes:
• Replacement of existing sanitary sewer which is mostly 1988 cured-in-place pipe; this should deal with shallow, flat grades and sewer backups, deteriorated pipe, tree root intrusion, groundwater infiltration, and a history of freezing sewer pipes.
• Replacement of 1966 cast-iron watermains with 6” or 8” PVC pipe; replacement of hydrants and valves, adding new ones where needed; this will improve the current undersized and deteriorated service, and add mains where needed.
• Add culverts and storm sewers to existing (and minimal) storm sewer system to address poor drainage and ponding in yards; additional catch basins will reduce overland flow, and curb will be added to direct runoff along street to storm sewer where needed.
• Street widening and repavement. Brooks Street and Rose Avenue will be 28’ wide, and Coleman Avenue, Maple Street, and Bell Street will be 36’ wide. Trees may need to be removed for this portion of the project. And surmountable curb and gutter will be added on all involved streets.
The timeline allows for plan approval and advertising for bids in February 2021 with bid opening and contract award in March, and construction season to be May-November 2021. A final assessment hearing would be held in November 2021.
There were questions from the public about assessments and processes, and some were concerned about the width of the new streets. Those properties on corner lots will be assessed the full amount for the shortest side, and half for the longest side. Mailbox replacement on these streets will be up to the post office.
The council approved having Bolton & Menk proceed with drawing up plans and specifications on the project.
Bolton & Menk and the city will schedule open houses so that residents can sit down and ask specific questions about the project and its impact on their properties – when meeting in-person is again allowed.
The council discussed adding a GIS system for public works; it would replace all the various paper maps, with all the information available in one place, digitally, and more accurate. Bolton & Menk would host the GIS system, and access would be limited. Utilities locates would be “almost survey-accurate” in the GIS system, and it would include both Stearns and Meeker Counties together. This could be done in conjunction with the 2021 project, and the cost would be about $17,000.
Construction at city hall was discussed, with two bids for the project. $50,000 had been set aside from the sale of Brookview Apartments to make improvements to city hall, including painting, microphones and camera system, a new council table, and tablets for the council.
Because of current economic uncertainties, it was felt that this was a lot of money to spend right now. The council decided to do it in phases, with the table and painting done now, and the electronics possibly done in a later phase. Clerk Cindy Anderson will get new quotes broken down by the two phases.
Police chief Ernie Junker reported that the new squad car has arrived, and that equipment is currently being transferred from the old squad. It should be back on the road by May 15. In the meantime, since both vehicles are not in use, Meeker County has loaned the city an unmarked county car. The council approved getting a magnetic sign to put on the side of the car (making it legal to do traffic stops), for about $35 cost.
Arnie Gruenes, who farms land on the north end of town, has made requests of the city, and the council approved both pending discussion with Gruenes. The city may install two 40’ field road culverts at the spillway in exchange for easements to the retention pond and spillway (after which the city would be responsible for their maintenance). The city may extend Smith Street to Gruenes’s property line. And the city may remove the road blocks at Douglas Drive, with the contingency that it would be used by pickups only, and not any farm equipment. Council man Troy Huschle
and public works director Zach Blonigen will discuss this with Gruenes. Attorney and construction costs could be in the tens of thousands of dollars. The city would seek to split those costs with Gruenes.
The next regular meeting of the Eden Valley city council will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, very likely by video/telephone again.