Council approves summer street contracts

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Albert Lea’s summer street improvement projects cleared their last hurdle Monday night as the Albert Lea City Council approved contracts for the projects.

The first project, involving the bituminous overlay of residential streets in the south-central part of the city, was awarded to Ulland Brothers of Albert Lea. The bid was for about $574,000, while the engineer’s initial estimate was $687,000.

The project specifically improves streets bounded on the north by Front Street, on the south by Plainview Lane, on the east by Spark Avenue and on the west by Fourth Avenue.

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The second project, including the mill and overlay and miscellaneous curb, gutter and sidewalk replacement on Front Street from U.S. Highway 69 to Broadway Avenue and on Hammer Road from Greenwood Drive to Bridge Avenue, was also awarded to Ulland Bros. for about $386,000. The engineer’s estimate was $480,000.

Councilor Ellen Kehr, whose ward covers a majority of these projects, said she was pleased the bids came in much lower than the engineer’s estimates.

“That combined with an interest rate that’s below 5 percent,” she said. “That was an ideal time to do this in these neighborhoods.”

Because bids for these two projects came in below the city engineer’s initial estimates, people being assessed for the projects will have to pay less than first estimated.

The third project — the construction of 777th Avenue that will service the Interstate 35/Interstate 90 Business Park — was awarded to Contractor’s Edge out of Mankato.

In the vote, the council chose to complete the entire street, instead of waiting to finish a portion of it at a later time.

The project includes grading, drainage, sanitary sewer, water, hydrants, curb and gutter, catch basins and concrete roadways. The city is partnering with Greater Jobs Inc. for this project.

About $700,000 in grant funds has been secured from the Department of Commerce Economic Development Agency and $250,000 have been secured from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The city portion will be $529,000, and Greater Jobs’ portion will be $375,000.

Councilor Vern Rasmussen said he thinks the project will open doors for Albert Lea, and it is one more way the community can take to make the city more attractive to potential businesses.

In other action, the City Council:

 Voted to amend the resolution approving the annexation of properties along County Road 45 of Bancroft Township.

The council approved payments from the city to Bancroft for five years instead of three years, as approved at the April 26 meeting.

Ordered the construction of sanitary sewer and watermain to serve existing homes along County Road 45. The homes are not yet annexed into the city.

There are 17 lots (15 homes) with an additional eight served by the project in the future, City Manager Jim Norman said.

Total costs are about $348,000 with $252,000 assessable.

Held for future assessments are about $76,000 and city costs are about $19,000.

Costs will be paid back over 15 years.

Approved a request from Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Jon Ford to waive any building permit fees associated with a new rehab project started by several community partners.

Ford said the HRA and partners, including the United Way and local ShineFest volunteers, have come together to provide small rehab projects to eligible families in the community.

He said the groups expect to do three or four projects a year. The projects have an estimated value of $2,500 or less and may not even need a building permit. The waiver is just in case one is needed.

So far, the partners replaced a shower and tub that was cracked and broken for an elderly woman with limited income. They have also replaced two storm doors for another family.

All labor and materials are either donated or provided pro bono.

Ford said though these are small projects, they can have a huge impact on the families involved.

Accepted quotations for sewer slip-lining of 290 feet of sanitary sewer on Newton Avenue between Pearl Street and the Union Pacific Railroad.

Approved a Board of Zoning Appeals motion that lists the land uses at the Lighthouse Event Center, 704 Johnson St., as of no greater nonconformity than the previous use as a church. This means the functions at the facility will continue.

Approved the installation of sanitary sewer and water service to 1713 Frank Hall Drive. Costs are about $22,000, which will be paid by the homeowner over a period of 15 years.

Voted to allow the Parks and Recreation director to negotiate with the Blue Trunk Educational Series to bring a show to Albert Lea on June 5.

Councilor Reid Olson said the group is requesting parking for 1,000 people.

The group travels all over the country.

Awarded the contract for bituminous materials.

Only one bid was received — from Flint Hills Resources for about $530 per ton without tax for one type and $440 per ton without tax for another type.

Approved a request from Mike and Vicki Larson, 204 North Shore Ave., to have an annual block party with a disc jockey on July 24 from 7 to 11 p.m. The event will raise food and money for the food shelf.