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Preliminary plans presented for 2010 street project

Another major street project is on the horizon for New York Mills residents. The city council authorized engineers to prepare a preliminary report for street and utility reconstruction for South Main and Otter Tail County Highway 67.

The proposed project would be a joint effort between the city and the county. The proposed improvements include the removal and replacement of street, subgrade, curb and gutter, sidewalk, sanitary sewer, watermain, service laterals, and storm sewer from Centennial Drive south to the edge of town on South Main/Highway 67.

The county originally scheduled the project to replace the asphalt surface of the road for 2011, but due to the availability of federal funds the project has been moved up one year to 2010. The proposed improvements to replace the underground utilities are included in the city's Capital Improvement Plan, which was adopted in 2007.

Estimated cost of the proposed project is $1.78 million. The project cost would be distributed between Otter Tail County, city funds, and special assessments to properties benefitted by the improvements. The city has applied for Public Facilities Authority (PFA) for funding assistance on the sanitary sewer and watermain portions of the project. The city has been approved for funding through PFA's Drinking Water Revolving Fund, which watermain replacement costs are eligible. PFA provides funding for improvement projects in the form of low interest 20-year loans at a typical interest rate ranging from 1 to 3 percent.

The street and underground utilities are believed to have been constructed in the 1940's, with various improvements to the street since that time.

The preliminary engineer's report presented to the city council indicates the sanitary sewer is still functioning, but there are noticable defects, which are good indicators the system is reaching the end of its useful life. Improvements would include the removal and replacement of all mains, manholes, and service laterals. All mains would be replaced with 8-inch PVC pipe.

There are signs of watermain deficiencies, such as failing valves and substandard materials. Similar to the sanitary sewer, the water distribution system is more than 70 years old. Proposed improvements include the replacement of all mains, valves, hydrants, and service laterals. The mains would be replaced with 8-inch PVC pipe. The watermain improvements would include replacement of the main under the railroad.

Along with the street surface the storm sewer system is also owned by Otter Tail County, and replacement of this system would likely be a shared cost between the city and county since city streets are also serviced by the storm sewers.

All street and sidewalk costs, as welll as a portion of the storm sewer costs would be paid by Otter Tail County. Sanitary sewer and watermain improvements are city costs which would be split between city funds and assessments.

Estimated assessments for a 50-foot lot are $9,226; and $16,623 for a 100-foot lot.

A public hearing for the project is scheduled for Sept. 8, 5 p.m., in the city council chambers. If the project is approved construction would likely run from June to September of 2010, with final construction to be completed in June, 2011.