2022 Street Improvement projects discussed at council meeting

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News

Monday evening's Montevideo City Council meeting included a presentation from City Engineer Mike Amborn of a report on the costs and need for two proposed 2022 Street Improvement projects. In November, the Council requested that a report be prepared on proposed projects including Ashmore Avenue from 17th Street to 24th Street, and 24th Street to Washington Avenue. That project will be done with a grant totaling a little over one million dollars that the City received from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The plan is for that street to be partially built with a ten-ton road which would, says City Manager Robert Wolfington, significantly improve the existing road.

Additionally, the City is proposing a project on Eichelberger Ave from 4th Street to 6th Street, and 6th Street from Ost Avenue to Wolfe Avenue. The project has been on the City's list for some time, as in 2018, the council received a petition from residents in the neighborhood asking for work to be done on those portions of the road. "It's been in our capital improvement plan, and just based on the needs and reviews of the streets in town, it was identified as a need to move forward," said Wolfington. Included in the proposal is additional work on improving the utilities on those streets including water, storm sewer, curb, and gutters. A lengthy discussion was held regarding the sidewalks, as they are proposed in the plan. "I think there will be more discussion about whether or not sidewalks are needed in that area," says Wolfington. "The area includes some sidewalks, but it's fragmented. Staff proposed looking at building out the sidewalks for potential future expansion. No ultimate decision was made."

The costs between the two projects are not definite, but so far are estimated to be $1,366,500 for the Ashmore Project, while the 6th Street and Eichelberger Avenue project is estimated to be $1,253,500. The project will be considered further at a public hearing on January 18th at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. 

Another topic of discussion at the meeting was the Transportation Alternatives Program grant application for the Ashmore Avenue trail. Last year, the City applied for a grant for work on the trail on Ashmore Avenue that is in need of replacement. The grant will be applied for again through the Minnesota Department of Transportation in January. The funds the grant would provide would not only replace the trail but will provide for some improvements to make the trail more ADA compliant. "It's a heavily used trail in our community, so we feel it's important," says Wolfington. The City's capital improvement plan also includes $200,000 for trails, with about $150,000 of that pledged to be committed toward the grant. The total projected cost for the Ashmore Trail replacement project is estimated to be $400,000.

Additionally, the council approved appointments to various City Boards and Commissions to those that expressed interest in reappointment. There are three new members on committees assigned at Monday night's meeting. Nora Guerra was appointed to the Civil Service Commission, Janelle Welling was appointed to the Planning Commission, and Wade McKittrick was appointed to the Hospital Commission. City employee salaries were reviewed for all non-union and department head employees for 2022, and a three percent increase was approved. Union employees were also approved for a three percent increase. The annual appointment of election polling location was designated, with the 2022 polling place being set to be located at the TACC. 

Gifts and grants were acknowledged, with a total of $7,280 received including a donation from the Montevideo Fire Department for $5,600, and $1,600 in donations for the Shop With a Cop program from a number of different organizations and community members. The next meeting of the City Council will be held on Monday, January 3rd.