$1 million Fountain Street plan eyed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 12, 1999

A $1 million plan to address traffic safety concerns near St.

Tuesday, October 12, 1999

A $1 million plan to address traffic safety concerns near St. Theodore Catholic Church is moving forward.

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That plan would move Fountain Street at the intersection of Bridge Avenue toward City Hall. It would then meet Clark Street where it diverts toward Main Street.

With the state already providing tentative approval, a traffic light would meter the traffic flow at the three-way intersection. A second light would control traffic at the Clark and Main intersection.

A lighted walking path would then replace Fountain where it now intersects Bridge Avenue, and the church would have access to parking on both sides of Fountain; the City Council has delayed approval of additional parking and a playground at the church because of safety concerns.

The area is a concern for the City Council because of high traffic counts, estimated daily to exceed the amount of traffic using Interstate 90.

&uot;It might resolve the safety problem,&uot; City Manager Paul Sparks told the City Council Monday before the council granted approval to proceed with studying the plan. &uot;We have the cooperation of the (former) County Market owners.&uot;

The owner, Nelson Limited Partnership, is now building a convenience store as well as two food shops near the location of the former grocery store; the plan would move an entrance in and out of the development.

&uot;We have tentative approval from the Catholic church,&uot; Sparks added. &uot;MnDOT has given their nod. Everyone wants a safer alternative than we currently have.&uot;

But the plan is also expensive. Construction alone will cost a minimum of $830,000, which could rise. The design will run about $80,000.

The city’s share of the construction is still unknown, with the state expected to contribute a significant amount.

It also might not remedy safety concerns with additional parking at the church, which doubles as a private school, said Councilor Ron Sorenson, adding no explanation at Monday’s meeting.

&uot;I agree with Councilor (Don) Mathison that we should explore alternatives,&uot; he said. &uot;There are still problem with that parking lot.&uot;

Sorenson introduced a resolution to continue studying the plan, parking lot and to notify neighboring property owners.