City officials outline costs for streetscape project

Published 6:53 am Sunday, September 23, 2012

Community members got a more-detailed peek this week at the proposed costs of the Broadway infrastructure and streetscape project and how each portion is proposed to be paid.

Under a cost breakdown for the project presented this week by Albert Lea city officials, downtown building owners are proposed to pay about 20 percent of the total Broadway infrastructure and streetscape project.

City Engineer Steven Jahnke said the downtown business assessments are the minimum that can be approved under the city’s assessment policy; typically properties are assessed at a higher percentage.

Shown is a rendering of the possible Broadway Avenue streetscape project.

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The assessments only cover costs for the street and sidewalk improvements, not the more decorative elements such as the street lighting, any proposed plazas or reconstruction of Fountain Lake Park, he said. The council is considering giving the property owners 15 years to pay back the assessments, instead of 10, at 3.59 percent interest.

Jahnke said under the proposed assessments, 37 out of 51 properties will pay $15,000 and eight will pay $30,000.

During a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, a few building owners expressed concern with their proposed assessments and asked whether the project would add value to their properties.

“It’s bad timing,” said Hugh O’Byrne, who is trying to sell his building, the former Century 21 building. “We’re all hurting.”

He said he already has his building for sale for $30,000 less than its assessed value.

Another building owner questioned how the project would benefit his value as he only has offices.

Jahnke also presented the following overall cost breakdown of the estimated $4.08 million project:

• $1 million from state bonding money

• $100,000 through storm water funds from the state or watershed

• $816,000 through assessments

• $1.5 million through sewer and water funds

• $660,000 the city would have to bond for

Jahnke pointed out that the proposed bumpouts, which have become controversial among the community, actually save about $360,000 to $420,000 in total project costs. If the City Council decides not to go with the bumpouts, the city would have to purchase new traffic lights on top of the already projected cost.

The existing sanitary sewer, watermain and storm sewer systems in Broadway are more than 80 years old and in need of replacement.

The existing street was originally constructed in 1933 out of concrete and has been overlaid with blacktop in 1956, 1975 and 2002.


Public hearing Monday

Community members will have the chance Monday to voice their opinions in front of the Albert Lea City Council about whether to move forward with preparing plans for the reconstruction of Broadway.

The council will have a public hearing at its regular meeting, after which it will decide whether to authorize the preparation of plans and specs for the project.

The council will not be voting at that time on a final design for the project, including bumpouts, street lights or other amenities, according to a city news release.

A video presentation about the project is being aired on the city’s government access channel, Charter Channel 16, through Monday at both 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. The presentation is also available on the city’s YouTube channel,

The city is urging residents to contact their city councilors with concerns or comments about the streetscape elements.

Fact sheets and other details of the project are available at


Broadway infrastructure and streetscape estimated project costs

Infrastructure element                                Estimated cost
Basic street and surface                                       $1,771,300
Basic street lights                                                  $238,100
Sanitary sewer, watermain and storm sewer  $846,800
Streetscaping                                                         $363,800
Decorative street lights                                        $154,700
William Street plaza                                             $190,500
Water Street plaza                                                $161,700
Fountain Lake Park improvements                  $349,700

Total                                                                   $4,076,600