Council closer to securing work on Stables area

Published 9:14 pm Monday, August 13, 2018

The city of Albert Lea is coming closer to completing work to connect sewer and water lines to the Stables area.

The Albert Lea City Council voted unanimously Monday to accept a feasibility report and call a public hearing for the project. The city approved recommending annexing and zoning Stables area and Bancroft Township properties.

Sewer and water extension improvements include providing sanitary sewers and water mains to the Stables area, properties along Country Club Road and accommodating future extension of the sanitary sewer and water to along Freeborn County Highway 20 to the West Plaza Street area.

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The project is expected to cost $2.96 million. Additional costs are expected to include $343,548 to remove existing ditches and provide the Stables area with curbs and gutters and a storm sewer system.

“Roadways being reconstructed as part of this project include Belgrade Drive, North Trail, East Trail, West Trail, Elm Street and Country Club Road,” Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams said in a report. “This is an area where, due to small lot sizes, many of the properties have non-compliant septic systems and no way to construct a system that would meet the requirements.”

The city applied for Public Facilities Authority funding for the project and submitted a preliminary engineering report and facilities plan for servicing the Stables area.

“These plans have been approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota Department of Health,” Adams said. “The project is now eligible for low interest loans and grants.”

There are 52 lots in the Stables area and 10 in the Country Club Road area.

“In addition, there is one lot east of Richway Drive that has requested annexation,” Adams said.

Homeowners are expected to be financially responsible for work from right-of-way lines into properties.

“This includes the private sewer service, private water service and removal or crushing of the existing septic system,” Adams said. “The city is evaluating doing one large bid for this work and trying to get a better price for the homeowners.”

The city and Freeborn County have both expressed willingness to contribute up to $300,000 for the project.

Adams said grant funding could cover up to 50 percent of water and sewer costs. Amounts are not expected to be known until late this year, after the project is bid and grants are written.

For the Stables area, if no grant funding for the project is secured, per-lot assessments are expected to be between $15,000 to $54,152, with additional costs for curbs and gutters expected to be $6,600 per lot. In the Country Club Road area, assessments per lot are expected to be between $15,000 to $25,990.

The project is not expected to advance if grant funding is not secured.

“Because of this, assessment calculations are based on worst-case (scenarios),” Adams said. “Per the city of Albert Lea assessment policy, the entire cost of the project will be assessed to the benefiting property owners — less the funding from the city and county — and grant funds if available.”

The project is not expected to be finished until at least November 2019.

First Ward Councilor Rich Murray said the project could have been cheaper if it was done years ago as planned, but noted the funding Freeborn County and the state could provide for the project.

“It’s been a long process, so it’s good that we’re finally getting to, hopefully, the end result here,” he said. “I think it’s something that the people in the area have wanted for a long time, and it will be good for them long-term to have the city water, the city sewer and be on those services.”


In other action, the council:

• Oversaw the presentation of lifesaving awards and letters of recognition to Albert Lea students Ayva Murray, Bailey Abrego and Adeline Helland; parents Jodi Schulz, Nicole Boyce and Angie Johnston; and teacher Anna Wescott for their work in saving a child in mid-May at Albert Lea Family Y.

• Amended a resolution to approve an off-site permit for the Albert Lea Amateur Hockey Association to have off-site gambling.

• Replaced two utilities department service trucks. One truck is expected to cost $112,769, while the other will cost $107,738.

• Approved a lot reconfiguration through a certificate of survey for Jared Dawson to build semi-detached residences at the intersection of Crystal Drive and Keystone Avenue.

• Approved a lot reconfiguration through a certificate of survey to allow for a swap of land between Ken Petersen of 1716 Bay Oaks Drive and property at 1712 Bay Oaks Drive owned by Patricia and Jon Syverson.

• Did not order the improvement and preparation of plans for the Johnson Street and High Street concrete alley paving project after it failed to receive support from the council. A majority of area residents expressed disapproval of the project, said 4th Ward Councilor Reid Olson.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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