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Rushford preps 43 project, looks long-term


By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jan 24th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Progress Edition

“This is not something we want to do. If we weren’t having utility problems, we wouldn’t do it.” That was the overall mood last fall of the impending state Highway 43 project scheduled to run through the heart of Rushford in 2014. Since September, following the results of a preliminary feasibility report by Otomo Engineering that detailed some of the potential $3.5 million project, the city has gradually coming to grips with what’s before them.

The city was already painfully aware of the conditions of some of the utilities that lay under the stretch of roadway when news of the project trickled down from the state level. Many of the utility issues were brought to light by and worsened by flooding in 2007, including 1885 pipe works which are rapidly deteriorating and causing excessive inflow and infiltration to the system, as well as a series of 1959 pipes which are also in poor condition.

The project is expected to be massive. Upgraded utilities and completely reconstructed streets and sidewalks will be long-term positive for the city, but for a city still recovering, the impact seems staggering. The total cost of the project hovers just over $3.5 million with the city’s share at $1,695,858, including assessments. The estimated assessment costs are $337,142. The assessments are expected to be shared over 64 properties, with the properties to be determined as those with the most benefit. MnDOT will contribute $1.5 million to the project, but no more.

Businesses have grown in the last seven years, with several new upstarts, but the potential effect the project could have some reeling. Already dealing with having to give up the city’s main thoroughfare for the duration of the project, the community is essentially at the mercy of the state is regards to alternative routes and project standards. The length of the project schedule concerns many, but City Administrator Steve Sarvi has attempted to reassure the public and business owners that the city will do all it can to move the project along.

Still, the city appears to be taking the project in stride and attempting to put as positive a spin on it as possible. In November, the city hired long-time marketing consultant Sally Ryman to assist the city with communication and marketing for the business community. Ryman has spent more than 30 years of her career with companies such as Minnesota Rural Electric Association, Land O’Lakes, Viafield, and .....
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