February 24, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.

Local agencies team up to make Linden St. retrofit a reality

Local agencies team up to make Linden St. retrofit a reality
Local agencies team up to make Linden St. retrofit a reality

First proposed through the Lindstrom Parks Board as a lakeside scenic overlook-- the "Linden Street Project" was rejected by a majority of the Lindstrom City Council because of cost.

The idea caught the attention of the Lake Improvement District and Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) however, and the project has evolved into a stormwater retention and run-off filtering "retrofit" aimed at improving water quality in Lindstrom Lake. Through the combined checkbooks and expertise of several agencies, it now appears the Linden St. retrofit is being done. If successful, it could be the model project for improving dozens of dead end streets that dump directly into lakes all over this area.

Lindstrom City Administrator John Olinger said Lindstrom was at the right stage in putting together information on this project, and other agencies saw potential to move forward on this. The SWCD had a state grant that was ideally matched to this work. The agency analyzed the city's "subwatersheds," or where run-off comes from and where it's discharging, and the end of Linden emerged as a problem spot.

A cooperative budget breakdown utilizing state, city and Chisago Lakes Lake Improvement District money, was created. The Soil and Water Conservation Dist. will contribute $35,000, Lindstrom chips in $46,000 and the LID is paying $52,000.

The County Board voted unanimously Feb. 16 to approve the Linden Street retrofit expenses through the Chisago Lakes Lake Improvement District Board.

Lindstrom City Council took another look at the redesigned project and cost-sharing agreement February 17, at its regular meeting and the project was approved 4-0 with member Curt Flug absent.

The work

The project narrows Linden Street, south of Newell Ave., so the stretch that dead ends at the lakeshore becomes 20 feet wide.

Crews will create a series of planted swales and rain gardens on both sides of the right-of-way along Linden. These will serve for run-off retention/filtration and yes, the project still includes a nice hardscape ledge to overlook South Lindstrom Lake.

As the LID presented the County Board with its plan Commissioner Mike Robinson questioned the narrow road, saying garbage trucks and firetrucks will have difficulty negotiating that stretch, with about five driveways attached. Linden has 66 feet of right-of-way as most municipal streets do. The paved road will be 20 feet wide when the work is done. The idea of redirecting and retaining run-off so the stormwater doesn't dump directly into the lake appealed to Robinson, but he had safety concerns.

Commissioner George McMahon said, "It's the LID's project" and if Lindstrom is okay with the layout that's what matters.

From here on, it hinges on whether the neighbors are okay with it.

Olinger explained that large vehicles already back down Linden, so there's no new safety hazard presented in this plan. The key will be that abutting property owners must formally agree to maintain the vegetation and the rain gardens planned along Linden Street. Olinger said this is an "experiment" in whether an approach like this reduces city public works expenses by narrowing paved surface and using non traditional stormwater structures. Olinger stressed the last thing Lindstrom wants to see resulting is an increase in city costs. Lindstrom officials were hoping to meet with landowners soon and report back.

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