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Delay of street work means Spicer's July 4 festivities will remain in familiar place

SPICER -- A last-minute decision this week to delay a major street and utility project in downtown Spicer until after the Fourth of July means the city's popular parade and street dance will be held in their traditional locations over the holiday...

July 4 scene
Spicer will hold its popular parade and street dance in their traditional locations over the July 4 holiday. (RAND MIDDLETON | TRIBUNE)

SPICER - A last-minute decision this week to delay a major street and utility project in downtown Spicer until after the Fourth of July means the city’s popular parade and street dance will be held in their traditional locations over the holiday.
“We’re thrilled,” said Sabrina Lere, administrator for the Spicer Commercial Club, of the decision made Tuesday by the Spicer City Council to delay the project about a month.
The city had originally planned to launch the
$4 million project on Lake Avenue before July 4.
Lake Avenue runs parallel to Green Lake and is used for many of the holiday activities over the Fourth of July.
The council was more than aware that having Lake Avenue torn up during the Fourth would cause problems with holiday activities, but they wanted to proceed to make sure the project was done by July 4 of 2017.
Lere said the Commercial Club had been working with the city to develop an alternate parade route and street dance location for this summer.
“There was a Plan B,” Lere said.
The backup plan included holding the dance in a city-owned lot across the street from Zorbaz and the parade would have made a “loop” through streets on the southeast end of town.
Those plans have now been put in the circular file.
“We are thrilled that the Fourth of July will go on as scheduled in the same location as previous years,” Lere said.
The decision to delay the Lake Avenue project was made after it became apparent Tuesday that the engineer’s plans would not receive the necessary overview and approval by the state in time for the city to open bids May 30.
The next window of opportunity to open bids is June 7, said City Engineer Randy Sabart, from Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. of St. Cloud.
Because it could take time for a contractor to mobilize, even if bids are opened June 7, the actual construction would likely not begin for a couple weeks after that, Sabart said.
Given that the start of construction would be “butting right up to the Fourth of July” anyway, Mayor Dennis Baker asked the council to consider delaying the start of construction until July 5.
It makes “good common sense” to require the contractor to delay construction until at least July 5, Baker said, which would allow events to take place at their normal locations.
“I think it would put a lot of minds at ease,” Baker said during the meeting Tuesday. “I think we need to make a decision tonight.”
The council agreed by consensus to make the change.
Baker said he wants to make sure the street will have a hard surface - and not just a gravel base - over the winter.
The final bituminous layer will not be applied until next year. It’s hoped that will be completed before July 4th of next year.
While relieved the events are back on schedule, Lere said she’s thankful community volunteers “went into overtime” to develop alternative plans. She said there’s a lot of “excitement” to make Spicer’s showcase event a success.

Related Topics: SPICER
Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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