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January 19, 2018

11/24/2017 4:57:00 PM
Council addresses cost of 2018 downtown park, street improvements

The Chisago City Council and City Administrator John Pechman met Nov. 14 to discuss details of next summer’s street work and downtown improvements.

According to Pechman, five property owners showed up for a recent informational meeting on the street assessments related to next summer’s project. Pechman said no one voiced objections, but attendees did inquire about  sidewalks, and planned improvements to the public lake access at the west end of Stinson Ave.

Pechman emphasized that benefitted properties will be assessed only for their share of the cost of the street work. Sidewalks, new street lighting, signage and park improvements in the downtown area will be paid for through a variety of municipal funding sources.

The street assessment hearing is scheduled for 6:30 pm. Nov. 28.
Pechman reviewed several design changes being recommended to trim the cost of the streetscape plan originally proposed for downtown to an estimated $2.26 million project to a level that can be covered by existing funding sources.
Pechman proposed the following items be eliminated; action on final design is pending the public hearing.
• The addition of angle parking on the south side of Stinson between Old Towne and  Isabel St.  The angle parking was intended to provide more parking spaces, but would be difficult to access. Pechman suggested, instead, more municipal parking may be created by using easements adjacent to downtown alleyways.
• All improvements to triangle park with the exception of repairing the carillon clock.
• Moving the median and parking spaces on the south side of Moberg park further into the park. Instead the existing parking area there will be milled and repaved.
• New sidewalks proposed to transect the park will be eliminated. New sidewalks  around the perimeter of the park remain.
• Two proposed water features will be limited to one that is simple and easy to maintain.

Within Moberg Park, the plan still calls for removing the existing bandstand (possibly moving it to Ojiketa Regional Park),  a large sign visible from Highway 8, a new pavillion/shelter, and a public bathroom facility with storage in the back and drinking fountains on the front.

Beyond improvements to the park, the downtown project includes all new street lights, additional signage, decorative lighting, banners, large box planters at key locations, and curb and parking improvements.

Pechman listed city fund sources available to pay for the downtown work. These included using $185,000 of the general fund reserve, $86,000 in funds remaining in a 2006 street light bond, $325,000 in undesignated capital, $300,000 from the capital street fund and $250,000 from sale of the community center. The city can also seek $25,500 in beautification funds through municipal state aid. He tallied available fund sources at $1.18 million which means the city would need to trim another $110,000.

Pechman would like to manage the work in the park to ensure that the park is available for Ki Chi Saga Days next August. That would require separating  park improvements from thecontract for the  rest of the project.

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