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Benson seeking to start $145K sidewalk project this summer

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

BENSON -- The city of Benson wants to reconstruct about three blocks of Atlantic Avenue sidewalk this summer.

City Manager Rob Wolfington said in an interview last week that the City Council scheduled a public hearing for April 20 for citizens to share any comments about replacing the three blocks of sidewalk running along Benson's Atlantic Avenue.

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Wolfington said the sidewalk replacement project will cost about $145,000 and $35,000 will be assessed. He said a project notice has been sent to all the affected property owners of Benson's central business district for them to review the project and comment about it at the public hearing.

Benson wants to replace the three blocks of sidewalk because "it's broken and heaved and not at the correct slope," Wolfington said.

"It's an expensive project, but part of the problem is that the sidewalk is next to some very old buildings," Wolfington said.

"There's a lot of unknowns under the sidewalk, like old coal chutes, rock foundations of some of the old historic buildings. It makes putting in a sidewalk via machinery interesting."

If there are no major objections and the City Council approves the project, Wolfington said, construction will start in late July. The city also anticipates a fall completion date, he said.

Wolfington said the project's location will also "make the working conditions a little difficult." U.S. Highway 12 makes up a portion of Atlantic Avenue on the east side of Benson before diverting south on 14th Street.

Also during last week's City Council meeting, the council approved the start of a $25,000 sewer project.

Benson was notified April 3 that it had a collapsed sewer service that left three homes north of Roosevelt Park without the city service, Wolfington said. He said the city started the project, which includes 300 feet of sewer repair, Wednesday and hopes to complete the repair within a week. Wolfington estimated that the clay sewer tile was near 75 years old.

In other action last week, the City Council authorized Swift County-Benson Hospital to borrow $250,000 to buy a mammography machine. Wolfington said the hospital's charter requires City Council and Swift County consent before borrowing money for hospital operations.

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