RED WING-- The City Council voted on Monday to extend the Old West Main Street reconstruction project into a two year project.
The plan includes street reconstruction, updated parking, the installment of way-finding features, the creation of a plaza for the new walking bridge and Jackson Street improvements. This was all originally scheduled to start this spring and end in late summer or early fall.
The reason this project’s timing is changing is that the winners of a Local Road Improvement Program grant for which the city applied will be announced later than anticipated. The grant would be up to $ 1.25 million. One of the requirements of the grant is that funds cannot be granted to projects that are under contract.
City Engineer Jay Owens reported to the council on Monday, “we've got a good application. We feel we really need to make sure we're there if we compete out and get something from the Local Road Improvement Program, but it has an impact and the business group down there has been really good to work with, I will say that all the way through this project.”
Last week the city hosted an open house to hear from community members about the possible changes to the project. Owens presented two options. The first was to convert the project into a two year project. This means that construction would be scheduled to begin in July of 2021 and then be partially completed in October of this year. Construction would then resume in April or May of 2022 and be fully completed in August of next year.
The second option was to delay the project until 2022 and complete the entire plan next year.
Owens reported on Monday that only a few business owners on Old West Main Street spoke to him at or after the meeting. The majority were in favor of the two year project option.
Council member Dean Hove agreed with Owens saying, “that's basically the emails that I've been getting too, as to support the two-year (plan).”
Council members and Mayor Mike Wilson also voiced their appreciation for Fitzgerald Excavating and Trucking, which had submitted the lowest bid for this project in March of this year. The company agreed to hold the bid for the city for two years so the project can be extended.
After the council agreed to the two-year timeline for the project Owens listed next steps. He explained that he will work with the city attorney to structure a delayed contract award agreement for the low bidder. This is required because the original bidding documents specified the project would be awarded on or before May 24 and for the low bidder to honor bid prices for up to 80 days following the bid.
After the new agreement is created, Owens hopes that the next time he appears before the City Council it will be to inform them that the project was awarded Local Road Improvement Program funding.