Willmar approves three major street projects expected to begin in June

The Willmar City Council on May 18 approved the assessment roll for the 2020 improvement projects as well as awarded the bids for those three projects. These actions, along with approving a resolution to sell general obligation bonds to pay for the projects, will allow the street improvements to move to the construction phase.

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WILLMAR — The 2020 street improvements in Willmar will go forward as planned. The Willmar City Council adopted several resolutions during the May 18 council meeting that pushed the projects toward the construction phase.

Following a public hearing, in which members of the public could participate by phone, the council adopted the assessment roll for the three street improvement projects which could be partially assessed to property owners.

Those three projects are reconstruction of Ninth Street Southeast from Willmar Avenue to Pleasantview Drive, reconstruction of Sixth Street Northeast/23rd Avenue Northeast from Country Club Drive to 26th Avenue and overlay of First Street from 19th Avenue to the westbound state Highway 23 ramps.

The total budget for all three projects is $2,933,850. Special assessments will make up $718,020 of the total, with city funds providing the balance.

Assessments are made on the address side of the property. Properties were assessed $85 per foot for reconstruction and $45 per foot for overlay.


"The last three years we've held the assessment values at a flat value," said Sean Christensen, Willmar Public Works director.

There were three callers who had concerns and objections, all related to the Ninth Street Southeast reconstruction project. The objections were generally about the cost of the assessments. All three were rejected by the council.

Christensen explained while the city assessment ordinance allows the city to charge property owners up to 75 percent of the cost for street improvements, the actual cost of $85 per liner foot for reconstruction is only about 25 percent of the construction costs.

"The 75 percent rate was not viewed as a legitimate number to charge the residents," said Christensen.

There are assessment deferment programs available for those who are eligible and would have problems paying for the assessments. Those with questions can contact the city clerk by calling the City Office Building.

Construction on the projects should begin in June. The council awarded the Ninth Street Southeast reconstruction and the First Street overlay to Duininck Inc., and Riley Bros. Construction Inc. was awarded the bid for the reconstruction of Sixth Street Northeast/23rd Avenue Northeast. All three low bids were under the engineer's estimates for the projects.

If the weather cooperates this construction season, the projects are scheduled to be completed by Sept. 25.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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