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Blue Earth street project hits snag

BLUE EARTH — A report on an issue with one of this coming summer’s street projects in Blue Earth turned into a lengthy discussion at last Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Part of the 10th and Nicollet Streets reconstruction project included hooking up a new water line to neighboring Bartel Drive, as well as a mill and overlay of that street surface.

However, Monday night, city engineer Wes Brown, of Bolten and Menk, reported a sewer line inspection had discovered that a sanitary sewer line currently goes underneath two homes on Bartel Drive and hooks into another home on Main Street.

“A shared sewer line like this can cause problems when it gets plugged or does not work,” Brown said. “It should be put into the street with lines into the homes from the street.”

That would add an extra $200,000 to the project, both for the sewer line and then for repaving the street, for a full reconstruct and not just a mill and overlay, Brown explained.

The discussion was about the rise in assessments to the local property owners.

Mayor Rick Scholtes spoke in favor of moving forward with the project, but councilman Glenn Gaylord was against it unless they had input from the property owners themselves.

The council also discussed a possible alternate route for the sewer line, through some property to the north of the affected homes, and not using the street.

In the end the council voted to proceed with plans and specs for doing the sewer line in the street, with a reconstruct of the street surface. The motion included having a public hearing on the project on Monday, March 1, to inform the residents of the plan.

The council’s motion also called for investigation of the possible alternate route for the sewer line.

In other action at Tuesday’s meeting, the council also:

— Discussed a report from a tennis court subcommittee concerning the need to do something with the current tennis courts located in Putnam Park. The courts will need to be totally rebuilt after the 2021 season.

The discussion was whether to keep the courts where they are, move them to somewhere else such as near the high school, and whether to stay in partnership with the school on ownership and maintenance of the courts.

No decisions were made.

— Voted to proceed with a grant application for funding for a future street project on Giant Drive and Fairview streets, and another project on 17th and Rice streets.

— Discussed an issue with dogs not on leashes at Steinberg Park, and owners not cleaning up after their dogs at the park.

One issue was dog owners not being fined for not following the rules.

Staff including the city administrator, city attorney and chief of police will look into developing a policy for all city parks.

— Appointed city council member Wendy Cole to the Economic Development Authority board as the council liason.

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