The Granite Falls Council reviewed a series of proposed road construction projects during a public hearing held on Monday, March 18. The proposals (nine in all) were presented by City Engineer Mike Amborn, who also took questions from council members and residents attending the hearing.

The projects are as follows, along with construction details and cost: 1. 7th Ave, from 17th Street to 18th Street: Complete reconstruction (excavation, geotextile fabric, aggregate base, new curb and gutter and bituminous surfacing). Built to 9-ton design. Estimated cost: $285,000. Total estimated assessment: $61.50 per linear foot (L.F.). 2. 17th Street, from 8th Ave to 7th Ave: Complete reconstruction to existing street width of 42 feet. Edge drains also proposed to help with surface drainage. Built to 9-ton design. Estimated cost: $194,000. Total estimated assessment: $61.50/L.F. 3. 18th Street (Project Turnabout entrance): Remove existing bituminous surface, shaping existing base, and placing new bituminous. Estimated cost: $25,000. Because this is considered a maintenance project, it will not be assessed but the cost will be shared evenly with Project Turnabout. 4. 5th Ave, from Prentice to 2nd Street: 1.5 inch mill and overlay. Displaced or broken curb gutter sections to be repaired prior to bituminous placement. Estimated cost: $43,000. Mill and overlay: $14.50/L.F. 5. Prentice Street, form Oak Street to Recreation Drive: 1.5 inch mill and overlay. Displaced or broken curb gutter sections to be repaired prior to bituminous placement. Estimated cost: $31,500. Mill and overlay: $14.50/L.F. 6. 3rd Street, from 5th Ave to 6th Ave: Complete reconstruction, narrowing street width from 40 feet to 36 feet. City proposes installing new water main loop to improve water flows and availability (this project would not be assessed). Estimated cost: $159,000. Total estimated assessment: $61.50. 7. Recreation Drive, from Prentice to 3rd Street: 1.5 inch mill and overlay. Improvements would include paving most of the parking lot area adjacent to the softball field. Estimated cost: $113,000. Mill and overlay: $14.50/L.F. 8. Short Street, at the Dee Street intersection: Improving the drainage for this intersection, in addition to a patch in the roadway. Estimated cost: $17,500. No assessment need (maintenance project). 9. Jefferson Ave, from Highway 212 to Park Street: Complete reconstruction, narrowing street width from 40 feet to 36 feet. Estimated cost: $99,000. Total estimated assessment: $61.50/L.F.

Only a handful of residents attended the public hearing. One resident asked living in the project 3 zone asked how Project Turnabout would contribute to the construction cost. Amborn assured the resident that Project Turnabout, and all private businesses within these project zones, would pay their “fair share” of the assessment. Another resident asked how long a typical road lasts (roughly 20 years), prompting Mayor Dave Smiglewski to underscore the importance of improving these streets, some of which date from the late 1970s.

A major concern expressed by several in attendance was how residents would pay for their assessment (which is calculated using the cost per linear foot and multiplying it by the total length of adjacent property). Amborn explained that residents would have the option of either paying the entire assessment up-front or they can have it included in their property tax statement over an eight year period. After additional discussion, the Council unanimously voted to move ahead with the projects and instructed Amborn to prepare plans and specifications for the project. The city plans to open bids from contractors in May. The final assessment hearing will likely happen in June, and residents can expect to see construction begin as soon as mid-July.

In other news: • The Council voted unanimously to approve a donation of $1,500 to the Granite Area Arts Council. This is contribution is an annual (and therefore budgeted) donation. • The Council approved a bid from West Central Roofing for the replacement of the roofs on the Public Library and former Electric Department building. Their bid was the only one received and amounts to $22,238.57 for the former Electric Department building (now being used by the Fire Department) and $56,467.24 for the library building. Replacement of insulation material, if needed will be an additional cost. • The Council also voted unanimously to spend up to $2,500 for putting together a call for proposal for architectural services for Phase 3 of the ongoing Memorial Park project improvements. This work will involve historic elements in the large shelter house. The council will select an architect and who will assemble plans and specifications for the work which is expected to get underway later this summer or this fall.