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Street project on schedule

Street work on the north side of the Lund Boats assembly plant continued last week before rain moved into the area. Despite some wet weather the city reports the 2009 street rehabilitation project is moving along on schedule.1 / 3
North Walker Avenue is complete as asphalt was put down earlier this month from the post office north to Gillman Street.2 / 3
Nowell Street remains dug up and closed to through-traffic as work continues on the south side of town this week.3 / 3

The torrential rainfall that hit East Otter Tail County July 14 slowed work on the New York Mills 2009 street rehabilitation project - but because progress has been ahead of schedule, there should be little impact on timing.

That was the report engineer Jon Pratt gave, at the July 15 New York Mills City Council meeting.

Phase I is largely wrapped up, reported Pratt. This phase includes Walker, Hayes and a portion of Gillman.

Earthwork for Phase II was delayed a bit by rain, said Pratt. The second phase includes these streets: Nowell, VanAernam and Frazee.

Original plans called for widening portions of some of the streets, but because of gas and utility lines, "it would have been a battle to get it done," said Pratt.

For Phase III, most of the underground work should be done this week.

"We are on or ahead of schedule," said Pratt. "By early August, we should be pretty well wrapped up."

For property owners, the big question has been about the affect the project will have on taxpayers. Mayor Larry Hodgson said he's been getting calls from property owners about the projected cost they will pay for the street improvements.

An assessment hearing, when property owners will learn details of the costs and also have an opportunity to provide input, will be scheduled in October, said Pratt.

Taxypayers may get some relief on the project, as federal stimulus money was awarded through a $965,000 grant from the Public Finance Authority.

Earlier estimates indicated that property owners with 50 foot lots would pay an assessment of $9,263. Those with 100 foot lots would pay $16,235. With the federal grant, those assessments may be reduced.

Total cost of the New York Mills street rehabilitation project is estimated at about $2.3 million.

The street project has also created a busy schedule for the city's public works department. City staff has been on from about 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with questions from the construction crew starting at 7 a.m. and continuing to 7:30 p.m., according to public works director Holtberg.

The Office of Pipeline Safety inspected the New York Mills street project for properly located facilities and documentation, and they concluded that the city and construction crews were doing well.