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Council approves Second Ave project, construction to begin this month

Second Avenue Southwest will be resurfaced and sidewalks will be added along the entire length of the street. (Carter Jones/ FOCUS)

Work will soon begin on the Second Avenue Southwest improvement project. The Perham City Council approved the low bid of $2,052,482.39 on the project that has been on the capital improvement plan since 2007.

The project consists of resurfacing Second Avenue Southwest, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Fox streets will also be resurfaced. Below ground, water infrastructure and the sanitary sewer will be updated from their original 60 to 70-year-old clay and cast-iron pipes to modern materials. Due to the increased traffic flow a mill and overlay will also occur on Coney Street from Prairie Wind Middle School to Third Avenue SE

Sidewalks will be installed on both sides of the roadway, to create a corridor from downtown's business district to the schools.

The project will be paid for in part with a special assessment. Homeowners are charged by their lot's assessable length. Interior lots pay the full length of their lot, side lots pay half of the lot's longest side and corner lots pay the short side plus half of the long side.

A resident of Second Avenue Southwest asked what they were going to get fined by not clearing the sidewalk in front of their house. Perham Police Chief Jason Hoaby responded that even though it's part of the city ordinance, generally it's not enforced in residential areas.

Council Member Fred Lehmkuhl said the sidewalks aren't being cleared anywhere in the city.

"If we're not going to enforce the ordinance for it, why in the hell should we put them in?" he asked. "The street has been the safest place to walk for the past few years."

Chief Hoaby responded that even if the ordinance is enforced, that's not going to force residents to clear their sidewalk.

"Unless the city is going to start clearing sidewalks when someone is in violation, we can still charge them with the ordinance violation, but you physically can't force someone to clear their sidewalk."

City Manager Jonathan Smith said they're not trying to get rid of sidewalks, just reducing the amount of sidewalks being installed on main roadways.

Council Member James Johnson said it'd be a step backwards if sidewalks weren't installed.

After the council accepted the bid, City Engineer Jade Berube said construction will begin later in April, with the majority of the project wrapping up in the fall.

The council amended the city's gambling ordinance to allow for two licensed, qualified organizations to conduct lawful gambling activities at one location. Establishments will now be allowed to host pull tabs from two separate organizations, or have one charity host a meat raffle, while another hosts electronic pull tabs.

Berube then updated the council on the status of the county road 8 closure. The detour will remain in place until May. Once the road is reopened, the council plans on working with the county on whether or not to keep the stop signs on Main Street.