Preliminary cost estimates for capital improvement projects are in and the city of Rushford is in the early steps of planning for them. A cost summary was provided to the council at the brisk, Monday, May 8 meeting. The summary was drafted last September and contains more than 40 recommended improvement projects.
While the listing may look daunting, the recommendations are a preliminary step and the city council will need to determine priority of each project, as well as affordability, before moving forward with any of it. An in-depth discussion with financial consultant Mike Bubany, of David Drown Associates, will be warranted. Once projects are prioritized, the city has a number of steps it must go through before the projects can be carried out, including public meetings and hearings regarding any assessments.
Utility reconstruction makes up the bulk of the city’s targeted list and represents some of the priciest items that are in need of improvement. Streets identified by the list include Bluffview Campground, West Stevens Avenue, Southview Court, West Jessie, Maple, Harry Street East, Park/County 27, North Elm, North, Winona, Meadowview Drive, Watt, Home, Reservoir Road, Prairie, East Grove, Walnut, East Burr Oak, Green, East Grandview, North Money Creek, South Prairie, East Jessie, Lamplighters Lane, and Circle Drive. Improvements on Maple Street are the most costly, at just over $2.3 million. West Stevens Avenue, North Money Creek, Watt, and West Jessie are also on the high end, with all estimated at more than $1 million.
Additional street work is identified for Southview Court, North Elm, Meadowview Drive, Home, Reservoir Road, North, Prairie, East Grove Street, Walnut, East Burr Oak, Green, East Grandview, and North Money Creek. Street reconstruction is also highlighted for the Fire Hall lot.
Mill and overlay of existing roadways is planned for Eiken Drive, Trisdahl Road, Industrial Road, Industrial Avenue, South Elm Street, Rushford Avenue, Scenic View Court, and Enterprise Drive. Street overlay only, with patching, is expected on Hanover Court and Nannestad Lane.
The new canoe launch, east of Highway 43 on the north bank of the Root River, is also included in the proposed work with a total city cost of $96,859. This takes into account the road to the launch, as well as the boat ramp and parking lot. The Department of Natural Resources will also be providing funding for portions of the project.
Several upgrades are also noted for the city’s water and wastewater needs. Miscellaneous improvements at the wastewater treatment plant and the water plant ring in at an estimated $840,000 and $50,000 respectively. Additionally, a water booster pump requires another $800,000. Lastly, repair and reconditioning at the city’s water reservoir and coating renovation of the water tower are also highlighted.
It was noted that $6 million has been set aside in this year’s legislative budget for Local Government Aid, which could assist the city in its project endeavors. Additionally, City Administrator Tony Chladek indicated that $10 million was approved for Small Cities Assistance, for Minnesota cities with a population under 5,000. The is designated road assistance funding was approved by the committee for each year, but it will still need to be negotiated with the governor.
“We can spend it now or save it, as long as we have to,” added City Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Zacher.
In other news, the city has been awarded a Southern Minnesota Initiative Grant for $10,000. The funds will be used toward Phase Two of the new Veterans Park in Creekside Park. The last minute effort of Zacher was praised by Administrator Chladek.
“Kudos to Kathy; she’s a great grant writer. She had her ducks in a row, as usual, and was able to get a great grant,” said Chladek.
Other continued fundraising is expected to continue for subsequent phases. This year’s Memorial Day celebrations are slated to be held at the park.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Monday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m., at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.