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Preston City Council Report: Feasibility study approved for Preston streets

Fri, Feb 9th, 2007
Posted in Government

Joe Palen of Bonestroo and Associates reviewed a preliminary report for Preston City streets at the February 5 Preston City Council meeting. Public Works Director Bill Cox noted that the streets were classified in one of three categories including high, medium or low priority for repair. He emphasized that the ratings were made on how the condition of the streets were relative to each other.

Palen suggested that the ultimate goal is to have 'perpetual streets' which get regular 'mill and overlay' work to achieve the optimum life of the street. Unfortunately, many streets are too 'fatigued' to be repaired with milling and overlaying. City Administrator Joe Hoffman suggested that the city can only afford to do so much, therefore limiting the volume of street improvements. The high priority areas are the west part of Valley Street and parts of connecting streets, Main Street (St. Anthony to Pleasant), Center Street (North to Spring) and the Corn Cobb Acres Subdivision.

Joe Hoffman outlined where the dollars could come from to pay for work on the high priority areas. The total cost could run more than $900,000. The feasibility study will better determine the actual cost. He suggested that there would be about a 2% increase in the levy if about 30% of the cost is assessed and if the utilities share in the cost. He didn't think that utilities have contributed to street improvement in the past, but noted that "replacement of underground utilities increases street replacement costs by $60/foot." He also made it clear if the city did not assess a portion of the costs, another 3% levy increase may be necessary.

The council approved doing a feasibility report on all four project areas. Also, it will be discussed with the Utility Commission to determine if they are willing to provide financial backing for the projects. If the project proposals go forward, the construction would be expected to start in June.

Forestville Trail Update

David Joerg reported to the council that so far $724,000 has been bonded by the state legislature for the trail project from Preston to Forestville. He estimated that the entire project would cost about $2,500,000. Joerg explained that 20 of the 22 right of way properties needed for the trail have been obtained. The fact that the last two properties have not been acquired makes it more difficult to get more funding from the state.

Mr. Joerg noted that the state has agreed to purchase the in town trail from Preston one day. He estimates that it could bring $150,000 to the city. Therefore, it is in the interest of the city to get work going on the Forestville Trail. Joerg requested that a discussion to possibly start 'eminent domain' proceedings to acquire the last two properties be placed on the next council meeting agenda on February 20. He doesn't think two property owners should be able to hold up the entire project.

Public Hearing

A public hearing will be held at 6:00 p.m. on February 20 in the council chambers on the proposal to vacate a portion of Farmers Street. This street vacation is at the request of the developers who are planning to build a Family Dollar Store in Preston.

Special Meeting

A special city council meeting will be held February 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers. A public hearing will be held at that time. Fillmore Community Human Services, Inc. headquartered in Preston is trying to obtain tax exempt financing/refinancing for land acquisition and construction costs of a new residence and to refinance two other residential homes. The new home will be in Rushford and the two refinances will be in Preston.

The city of Preston has been asked to be the unit of government to sponsor the non-profit so that they may get a tax exempt bond.

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