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January 19, 2018

11/3/2017 1:18:00 PM
Public hearing Nov. 28 on next year's street projects

The summer construction season may be months away but the Chisago City Council is already busy preparing for next year’s downtown street improvements.

On Oct. 24, the council received the report of City Engineer Steve Heth of Bolton & Menk on the feasibility of $1.05 million in 2018 street improvements in the downtown area. The project includes Railroad and Stinson avenues from Stinson to West Street, Isabel and West streets from Stinson to Wyoming Avenue, Main Street, and the city’s share of the final leg of the Chisago County Old Towne Road project, from Stinson to Highway 8.

The City Administrator explained that the city’s share of the $460,500 Old Towne Road work is projected at $60,500 of which $24,200 would be assessed against benefitting property owners at a cost of $23.59 a front foot.

The city engineer projected the total cost of improvements to the adjacent city streets at $591,322, with 60 percent of that amount, or $354,794, to be assessed against 38 fronting properties at an estimated unit price of $9,336.67 per unit. All assessments are payable over a period of 15 years.

The council set a public hearing for 6:30 p.m Nov. 28.  Property owners affected will be invited by mail to attend a pre-hearing neighborhood meeting, where they will be able to view maps, ask questions and bring up any related concerns.

In other business:
- Chisago City once again will apply for a state grant to improve Kirby Avenue, the gravel road leading into Ojiketa Regional Park. Increased use of the park has resulted in neighborhood complaints about the dust. This is the third time the city has made a bid for a grant through the State Park Road Account Program. The city is seeking a grant of $83,966 with the city paying 20 percent of the projected $104,958 cost. As a regional park, Ojiketa qualifies to apply.

The council also passed a resolution supporting the pursuit of Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP)Funding  from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to help the city resurface and upgrade North Avenue next year. The LRIP makes up to $1 million in state funds available to municipalities to improve “roads of regional significance.” The council cited the fact that North Avenue is a major collector street connecting Lofton Avenue in Chisago City with County Road 14 in Lindstrom, and serves as an important service road and emergency route paralleling Highway 8.
The resolution states that the road surface has become badly degraded  and that the 2018 project will upgrade the existing nine-ton road to a 10-ton road.

Community Center remains 2018 polling place
- After consulting with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, Chisago City has decided that the existing Chisago City Community Center will continue to serve as the official polling place for 2018 primary and general elections. The decision was complicated by the fact that the city has signed a purchase agreement to sell the community center/fire hall to a company which plans to open a brew/pub in the old fire hall. Minnesota Statutes prohibit polling places to be “in or adjoined to” liquor establishments. City staff believes that the intent of the ordinance will be met because the prospective owners have agreed to allow use of the community room for elections and will close the brewery and suspend liquor sales on election days. The brewery is separated from the community room by a common wall.

Trio Wolf Creek Distance Learning Center has asked the Chisago City Park Commission to designate Rotary Park on Liberty Lane as a smoke-free park. Rotary Park is located directly across the street from the charter school. In response to the request, the park commission voted to ask that the city establish an ordinance prohibiting smoking in any park located within 500-feet of a school district facility.     

Smoking is not allowed on school grounds; however, park users, including students who have reached age 18, are currently able to smoke in the nearby park without restriction. The school first raised concerns in 2009 and now has asked the city to revisit the issue saying they feel it is important not to allow smoking directly in front of the school.

At the Park Commission meeting, Councilman Mark Anderson, who serves as council liaison to the commission, declined to vote on the issue saying he feels the school’s request is an “over-reach”. The city council will give the proposed new ordinance a first reading at the Nov. 28 meeting with a vote expected in December.

At 5 p.m. Nov. 14, the council will meet to review and discuss plans for additional downtown improvements to be completed in conjunction with the 2018 Old Towne Road project. Topics will include street lighting, signage, and proposed revisions to Moberg Park.

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