2024 means a new Main Street for Perham; here are the plans

In a recent Perham council meeting, City Engineer Jade Berube presented the plan for Main Street reconstruction.

The last time Main Street received extensive maintenance was 25 years ago.
Perham Focus file photo
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PERHAM — Though 2024 seems to be a while away, the city of Perham is already preparing for Main Street construction set to take place that year. City Engineer Jade Berube recently presented the facility plan and preliminary engineering report for the project to the city council, where he outlined the project scope.

"It's a very preliminary look at the project," Berube explained. "We have a long way to go before we get into finalizing. Right now, it just lays out options for the city to consider and talks about the needs before getting to a final layout and final design."

According to Berube, though the report is final on the engineering side — such as a need for new sewer and water systems — there's still a lot to consider in terms of design. While the city surveyed the public on this future project in spring 2022 , more chances to provide community feedback are yet to come.

The city is planning on holding a series of public meetings to chat with downtown business owners and general community members to discuss how they'd like the project to proceed. The dates of these meetings will be found in the Perham Focus and on the city's website and Facebook page .

"Ideally, we'd like to not touch a project for 50, even 60 years," Berube said. However, when the city last completed rehabilitation on Main Street about 25 years ago, the council decided not to replace all the utilities. "So we have to basically replace the other half that were not replaced at that time."


This reconstruction will be a joint project between Perham and Otter Tail County.

Screenshot (87).png
This map depicts the project area and scope of construction to likely take place in 2024.
Contributed / Jade Berube

In the project report, Berube laid out the following needs:

Utility rehabilitation

Sanitary sewer replacement is needed on both Main Street and Second Avenue Northeast. This includes replacing existing clay with PVC and replacing services to property lines. A new main beneath the railroad tracks on Second Avenue Northeast will be made to redirect flow.

Main Street also needs water infrastructure replacement, which includes replacing existing cast iron and undersized PVC, replacing services to property lines, upsizing requested services throughout downtown and making minor hydrant relocations.

Street rehabilitation

On Main Street West (also known as County State Aid Highway 80) — from Sixth Avenue West to County 51/34 — roadways will be replaced, and sidewalks will be reviewed by the county for select replacement. From County 51/34 to Highway 10, they'll complete stabilized full-depth reclamation while also matching the width of the stretch.

The existing roadway on downtown Main Street will also be replaced on Sixth Avenue West to Third Avenue Southeast. This section will also have a sidewalk review along with storm sewer additions.

Main Street East from Third Avenue Southeast to Fifth Avenue Southeast will replace the existing roadway and get a sidewalk review. From Fifth Avenue Southeast to Highway 10, the city also plans to match the existing width, complete stabilized full-depth reclamation and add a sidewalk on the south side of the roadway.

The roadway on Second Avenue Northeast will be replaced along with some minor sidewalk replacement. Second Street North will potentially be reviewed for width and layout modifications.


Probable costs

Next, Berube presented the cost possibilities. If the city were to use concrete to replace the street and surfaces, it would cost a total of $10.45 million. If they were to use other replacement options, it would cost about $7.82 million. Concrete, however, tends to last about 2 ½ times longer, Berube said. Because of this, the city and county will review which options will save more money in the long term.

The project report presentation reads: "Funding will be pursued through multiple agencies for the improvements, but it is also anticipated that a portion of the project will be funded through special assessments." About $1.32 million is predicted to be assessable while about $2.01 million would come from county funds, and $5.99 million would come from county funds.

The estimated assessment rates are as follows: Street improvements may be $98.50 per lineal foot. Water services may be $3,950 per each. Sewer services may be $4,450 per each.

All of these costs are preliminary estimates.

What's next

The city plans to apply for different funding opportunities. They will also hold several meetings throughout 2023 to discuss design, bidding, construction and more.

"The reason for projects occurring in 2024 is primarily driven by the county schedule and based on the surface condition of the roadway," Berube explained. "So, (the county, they) are the reason for why it needs to be done. They run a scenario every year where they review all the county roads and determine … which things have to be done as soon as possible to make sure the traffic and public can handle it … I know people are concerned about doing projects like this, but there's also concern on the other side regarding the condition of the roadway."

Though some parties have hoped for this project to be complete as soon as possible, due to the amount of planning, 2024 will be the earliest time available to start road construction, he said.

For future updates on the 2024 Main Street reconstruction project, follow the Perham Focus' coverage.

Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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