2/26/2018 1:06:00 PM Chisago City will use future state aid to repave downtown
Chisago City will commit five year’s of future state aid gas tax dollars to help pay for street work included in this summer’s $2.75 million downtown improvement project. The money can be “borrowed” from the state without interest City Administrator John Pechman told the Chisago City Council at a Feb. 13 workshop session.
The commitment of future gas tax dollars exceeds $1.05 million to which the city will add $229,000 in state aid funds already on hand. The city’s cash contribution to the remainder of the downtown project above and beyond state aid will be about $1.1 million, Pechman told the council. The Council reviewed plans for the ambitious downtown facelift that will coincide with Chisago County’s reconstruction of Old Towne Road, from Stinson Ave. to Highway 8.
Because the city’s portion of the work significantly exceeds the county’s share, Pechman said that the city will take the lead on the joint project. Chisago County has earmarked $400,000 for the Old Towne Road work. Current estimates are at $388,000 to complete Old Towne Road through downtown Chisago City.
Pechman explained that the city decision to “borrow ahead” from the State Aid Gas Tax for five years means that Chisago City won’t be able to spend any more state aid gas tax money until the amount of dispersements equals this borrowed sum. State aid funds must be used for state aid roads.
This summer Chisago City will be repaving Main Street, Isabel, Railroad Avenue and Stinson Avenue as well as the parking lot adjacent to Moberg Park. All sidewalks and street lights in the downtown area will also be replaced at an estimated cost of $94,000.
Beyond street improvements, the city’s largest share of the project is an estimated $724,800 for improvements to Moberg Park and the Stinson Ave. public lake access. Park improvements will include a new picnic pavillion, seasonal bathrooms with a small storage area, a new LED digital message sign along Highway 8, new electrical service, and an interactive water feature. The roofline of the pavillion and the bases of new picnic tables will adopt a Craftsman architectural style patterned after the historic Dahl House entrance pillars on Old Towne Road.
The project also includes funds for improvements to the public lake access at the west end of Stinson Avenue, on Green Lake and for welcoming signage near The Northern Bar and Grill.
Some planned angle parking has been eliminated from the project. Instead Pechman said they plan to create a few parking stalls in the easement area between several downtown buildings. “We’re looking at doing that project in 2019. We’ll put a one-way street through there and seven to nine parking stalls when we get the easements squared away.” Once city streets are repaved, all parking stalls in the downtown area will be marked, said Pechman.
To pay for its share of the downtown improvements, the city plans to use $200,000 from the anticipated sale of the community center firehall, $120,000 from its existing reserve funds, $85,900 in street light funds from a 2006 bond, $10,100 from its capital sign fund, $263,000 from the capital street fund, $339,800 from an undesignated capital fund, and $50,000 levied and earmarked for the downtown project.
Construction will begin as soon as school is out. Pechman told the council that the first layer of asphalt will be down on the new streets by August 1.