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City Council orders street improvement report for '10

Gary Gilman of Willmar add-resses the Willmar Council during Monday's meeting. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council on Monday ordered the city engineering department to prepare the improvement report for proposed 2010 street projects and related work estimated at $3,721,492.

This year's projects cover 1.2 miles of reconstruction on segments of 10 streets, 1.23 miles of overlay on segments of three streets, .39 mile of new construction on two streets. .50 mile of water main replacement on one street, street lights in Westwind Third Addition, and miscellaneous work such as path paving, First Street bridge crack repair, and crack-sealing.

Reconstruction is estimated at $1,299,209, overlay at $407,884, new construction at $457,372, water main replacement at $193,442, and miscellaneous work at $1,363,583. Construction would take place from July through November.

The council ordered the report after taking comments from a few of the 20 citizens who attended the public hearing called to consider the improvements.

Gary Gilman, who lives at 500 34th St. N.W. in the Valleybrook addition where reconstruction is slated on 33rd and 34th Streets Northwest, said he hoped the city would provide better communication to property owners who must drive around barricades, which are erected during the project, to get to their homes.

He said one neighbor received a ticket for driving around a barricade.

Public Works Director Mel Odens said the city will tell Valleybrook residents when work on their street will begin.

Gilman also asked the city to consider providing a second egress and ingress for Valleybrook and that the street in the proposed Hidden Valley development just south of Valleybrook be built first before heavy equipment is driven on the rebuilt Valleybrook streets.

Council member Bruce DeBlieck, who represents northwest Willmar, said the second egress out of Valleybrook was discussed three to four years ago when Hidden Valley was proposed and that construction of a second egress was a high priority.

DeBlieck said he thought a second egress out of Valleybrook was originally platted, but it was changed and never built.

Bruce Peterson, director of planning and development services, said Valleybrook was approved with only one route in and out. He did not know when Hidden Valley would be developed. He said the "trigger'' to require the construction of the second route was development of Hidden Valley.

However, he said Hidden Valley and the street are platted and he said the city does have control of the right-of-way through the property. He said the city would be free to proceed, but the work would be paid at city cost if Hidden Valley was not developed.

Gilman said he was told by a former council member that the council was misled years ago by the Valleybrook developer and that the original plans called for an egress to go to a cul-de-sac and connect to Vos Park. But Gilman said the developer changed the plan and sold the lots.

Gilman also said the Planning Commission told the Hidden Valley developer that he would have to purchase another way out of Valleybrook before his plat was approved. He said city minutes should show that.

Council member Steve Ahmann suggested the minutes be researched to find out if the street was required.

Gilman asked if a new street will be built this summer as an extension of Seventh Avenue Northwest.

Odens said the city has discussed the issue each year with the developer. Odens said the Hidden Valley developer extended storm sewer and built a storm pond with full intention of developing the area, but the economy went down.

Council member Doug Reese said it would be difficult for the city to build the street and not have repayment.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150