A.L. City Council prepares for final downtown vote Monday

Published 3:39 pm Saturday, April 20, 2013

After two weeks of receiving input from residents, the Albert Lea City Council is slated to vote Monday on how to proceed with the Broadway reconstruction and streetscape project.

City Manager Chad Adams said councilors have been receiving mixed feedback from numerous residents by phone and email about the more than $4 million project.

Chad Adams

Chad Adams

“It’s really divided,” he said.

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He noted one councilor mentioned that it seemed that 10 percent of the people he has been in contact with were fully in support of the project, 10 percent were fully against the extra amenities for the project and another 80 percent want the council simply to make a decision and move forward.

Adams said he’s found the same to be true in his own interaction with residents.

The decision comes after the low bid for the project came in earlier this month at more than $495,000 over the estimate. With the engineer’s fee of $305,000, the total for the complete project would be $4.59 million.

What’s in the project?

The project calls for reconstruction of street and underground utilities on Broadway from Fountain Street to Main Street, replacement of sidewalk and amenities, making plazas at Broadway’s intersection with Water and William Streets and renovations to Fountain Lake Park.

The low bid, from BCM Construction Inc. of Faribault, included a base bid of $3.77 million for everything from the street work, sewer and water replacement, sidewalk replacement, street lighting and basic plazas on William and Water streets.

To enhance the two plazas with additional pavers it would be an additional $48,921 for William Street and $37,029 for Water Street.

The Fountain Lake Park part of the project came in at $438,089, about $159,000 higher than the engineer’s estimate.

Higher than estimated costs also came from the street and plaza streetscape elements and the street lighting and electrical systems. The bids also included higher costs for mobilization, or when a contractor sets up and takes down for a project.

While most people have agreed about the need to replace the street and the aging underground infrastructure, there has been controversy about how many extra amenities to include above ground.

Al Brooks

Al Brooks

Where does the council stand?

The city manager said based on the discussion from the council’s Thursday workshop, there appears to be a consensus about moving ahead with the Fountain Lake Park project, while the council is still debating the two plaza enhancements.

Sixth Ward Councilor Al “Minnow” Brooks said as of Friday he is not planning to vote to accept the contract because he does not support the extent of the project.

Third Ward Councilor George Marin, who has been vocal about his opposition for the park and other parts of the project, was not in attendance at the Thursday meeting.

Adams encouraged residents to continue contacting their councilors before the Monday meeting.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Albert Lea Council Chambers.