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Perham City Council hears updates on upcoming projects

The Perham City Council heard updates on upcoming city projects at its regularly scheduled meeting on May 9.

City Engineer Jade Berube updated the council on timelines and costs of the Fifth Avenue SE and Third Street NW/Lake Avenue improvement projects.

Berube told the council that plans and specifications for improvements to Fifth Avenue have been with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for a month and a half. An MPCA reviewer has indicated that a reviewed set of plans and specs should be returned to the city by the end of the week, at which point the project will be advertised for bids.

Berube also presented the council with a preliminary engineering report for the Third Street NW/Lake Avenue improvement project.

Berube indicated that costs for the first phase of the project would be $735,000, the city share of which would be $60,000. Assessable costs would be $670,000, he said.

The second phase of the project, he said, would cost $337,000, with 45 percent being the city share and 55 percent being assessable costs.

The council accepted the engineering report and scheduled a public hearing for Wednesday, May 25 to hear comments from the public regarding the project.

The council also heard an update from Steve Nelson, project manager with Bolton & Menk, on the wastewater treatment facility expansion project.

Nelson updated the council on project costs, much of which will come from material disposal during the expansion.

Nelson said that removing dirt from the 20-acre pond addition, which is 16 feet deep, could cost up to $2 million dollars.

"That's a lot of soil to handle," he said.

Council member Fred Lehmkuhl asked about the possibility of using some of the soil removed from the expansion for the upcoming Highway 34 interchange. City Manager Kelcey Klemm said that he would be meeting with officials from the interchange project this week, and would bring that question up in discussion.

Nelson said that he would be communicating with all involved government organizations so that the project can move forward as quickly as possible.

The council also discussed a $5,000 grant received from the Statewide Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) to designate current and future bike/walk routes throughout the city.

The goal of the project, Klemm said, is to figure out "how to put together a good capital improvement plan that's financially feasible, but also improves our pedestrian transportation system."

Klemm said that he had solicited bids from Ulteig Engineering and Community Growth Institute (CGI), based in Baxter, Minn., to proceed with the project. The chosen firm would then look at Perham's existing infrastructure, Klemm said, and provide ideas on how to improve it.

Klemm suggested that the city go with CGI to bring a different perspective to the project.

"We've always gone the engineering route," he said. "This way, we could see what they say, as an outsider looking at our street design."

The council approved entering into an agreement with CGI to move forward. The grant funds need to be spent by June 30, Klemm said, so the project will move forward quickly.

In other business, the council approved the re-zoning of recently annexed properties, which was a continuation of action that began at the Feb. 14 council meeting.

The council also had scheduled a public hearing regarding an alley vacation in Block 24 of Newcomb's second addition. The purpose of the vacation was that the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) would be able to create additional property lots.

Upon further review of the plans, Dave Neisen told the council that the HRA realized there was a possibility of not being able to provide sewer services to one of the lots created. So, Neisen recommended that the council not provide with the alley vacation.

A special council meeting, public hearing and the Committee of the Whole meeting are scheduled for May 25 at 5:15 p.m. The next regular city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 13 at 5:15 p.m.