Weather Forecast


City Council orders 19th Street Northwest improvement

The Willmar City Council directed the engineering department to prepare plans and specifications for reconstruction of 19th Street Northwest. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has ordered the improvement and reconstruction of 19th Street Northwest, which has been seriously damaged this spring by frost boils. City officials have said that more frost boils are damaging city streets this year.

The council directed the engineering department to prepare plans and specifications for reconstruction of 19th Street. The work will be added to the list of 2011 street improvements.

The council's order followed a public hearing Monday night. The hearing was held separately from an earlier hearing on the 2011 improvement report after frost boils caused the surface of 19th Street to fail, according to Holly Wilson, public works director.

Wilson said the reconstructed street will be heavier with 4 inches of bituminous surfacing, 10 inches of gravel base and geo-textile fabric underneath. The street was constructed in 1977 with 3 inches of bituminous and 4 inches of gravel base.

The 0.8-mile street ends in a cul-de-sac. During the hearing, a property owner asked the council to enlarge the cul-de-sac. Wilson said she did not know if the city can enlarge the radius of the cul-de-sac because more land would be needed from property owners.

Randy Frederickson, a 19th Street Northwest resident, asked if a temporary repair was possible because two trucks got stuck in the street. The trucks got stuck after the surface failed. Council member Denis Anderson echoed Frederickson's comments.

"I don't know how we would get a fire truck in there,'' Anderson said.

Wilson said no temporary fix was planned but said she would have the Public Works Department look at trying to make the surface smoother. Wilson said reconstruction is planned in July. She hopes to speed the project along.

Council member Steve Ahmann suggested the city consider the option of using concrete to rebuild the cul-de-sac portion of 19th Street.

Mayor Frank Yanish and City Administrator Michael Schmit said the city will look into a citizen's complaint that vehicles from the gravel parking lot at West Central Steel, located near 19th Street Northwest, are leaving mud on the street.

In other business, the council tabled a resolution approved by the Municipal Utilities Commission on April 25 that would increase the daily meal allowance for employees conducting work-related business from $40 per day to $70 per day in Minnesota and from $50 per day to $100 per day for business outside of Minnesota.

Anderson said the increases seemed to be excessive. He requested the resolution be tabled and asked that the matter be referred to the Labor Committee where a utility representative could explain the reason for the increases. The city charter gives the council veto authority over utility commission actions.

In related business, the council declared costs to be assessed for the 2011 improvements, not including 19th Street Northwest. The council assigned the rate of $59.76 per foot for reconstruction and $25.46 per foot for overlay work.

The total assessable footage to be collected is $986,915.51; the city's portion is $809,308.

Also, the council approved an agreement with Kandiyohi County to share the cost of overlaying Seventh Street Southwest from Willmar Avenue to 19th Avenue Southwest.

The county is sharing the cost because Seventh Street is a county-state aid highway. County state-aid highways are owned by local entities but designated as part of a system of roads for which counties receive state money for construction, improvement and maintenance.

In other action, the council:

- Approved a $5,000 contract with Engan Associates of Willmar to study reuse of the old airport terminal, which has been declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The study was requested by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office before any consideration is given to demolishing the 60-plus-year-old building. The city has declared the terminal unsafe.

- Said the city should pursue providing credit card services. Also, staff was directed to obtain pricing options from local banks; charge a transaction fee to customers; that types of items charged should not be limited; and to choose price options when considering proposals.

- Approved a one- to three-month lease with Affiliated Community Medical Centers for $1 to allow either storage of equipment or use of the city skateboard park at the Washington School property. The lease is needed because ACMC bought the school property from Willmar School District. The Community Education and Recreation Department is seeking a new site for the skateboard park.

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