Council discusses proposed bumpouts

Published 9:26 am Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Albert Lea City Council appears to be split on whether to move forward with proposed bumpouts during a reconstruction of Broadway downtown.

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen said the councilors discussed the bumpouts and other amenities of the downtown proposal during their Thursday preagenda workshop.

No votes were taken.

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The other amenities discussed include parts of the project such as plazas, lighting and decorative pavers, among others.

According to city officials, preliminary cost estimates for the entire project total $4.08 million, with more than half of the cost slated to go toward infrastructure improvements. Whether the amenities are included could affect the overall cost.

Rasmussen said the design for the bumpouts has changed “dramatically” since the city first began researching the project.

The bumpouts would be at the corner of each intersection and would decrease the amount of space pedestrians have to walk on the street.

Rasmussen said the bumpouts would actually cost less because the city wouldn’t have to purchase new stoplights. One question has been whether snowplowing would be affected.

The mayor said in addition to discussion about the bumpouts, the councilors generally agree to move forward with one of two proposed plazas. He said the councilors were leaning toward having the Water Street plaza and eliminating the William Street plaza, other than planting some additional trees and possibly adding some benches on William Street.

Rasmussen said the council supports the proposed improvements at Fountain Lake Park, which will make the park compliant for people with disabilities.

The council also briefly talked about the potential light fixtures for the downtown and voiced support for having the globe fixtures for a majority of the street with possibly the downward fixtures at the intersections.

Rasmussen said if community members want to give their input on the different elements of the project, they can contact their city councilor. He said the council is expected to make a final decision on the amenities in the next month or month and a half.