Plans for 2022 street improvement project advancing

The second step for the upcoming 2022 Cambridge street improvement project has now been set, including scheduling the mandated public hearings.

Next summer’s street improvement project will be the first of a larger, two-part project to make repairs in Goldenwood. The first part will be performed on all streets north of Central Avenue and south of 18th Avenue. The second part will be performed south of Central Avenue.

According to City Engineer Todd Blank, following an inspection of the area and an informational meeting with residents, a couple small changes were made to the project. The first is that all of the curbing will be replaced. Originally, it was thought some of the curbing could be salvaged, however, closer inspection revealed more extensive damage.

The second change was the moving of the placement of a sidewalk from Holly Street to Joy Circle. Blank said many of the homeowners along Holly Street were opposed to the addition of sidewalks since doing so would require the removal of about 20 large oak trees. The residents presented Blank with a petition signed by 21 people, including seven of the 10 homeowners who reside on the west side of Holly Street, asking sidewalks not be placed.

Additionally, Blank said by moving the sidewalk, it would save $90,000 and it would make for a more direct connection to the walking paths in Brown Park, which will also be improved during the project.

“It is very difficult, controversial, painful and expensive to retrofit these sidewalks, especially in areas with mature trees,” Blank said.

Blank said the only properties along Joy Circle are the Lutheran Church and a rectory. He said he hasn’t had any discussions regarding this change, however, he is willing to keep in communication with the church regarding this change in plans.

Blank reminded the council that replacement of the existing sewer system was not needed for this project as it is only halfway through its expected lifespan.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $5,350,900. Each residential property will be assessed $5,500 of the cost. Another $950,000 will come from state aid funds, with 54% of the costs, approximately $2,909,100 being paid by city bonding.

The council also approved setting its Dec. 6 council meeting for the public hearing. Advertising for bids will take place in March 2022. Construction will begin in May 2022 and be completed in September 2022.

Odds and ends

In other action, the council:

Approved a purchase agreement with Luther Company LLLP for a .76 acre lot at 410 Garfield Street S. The agreed price is $175,000. The city had originally purchased the lot from Baas Properties LLC in 2016 for $159,602.86.

Following a closed session for the consideration of preliminary allegations or charges against an individual subject to its authority, the council voted to discharge Assistant City Administrator Athanasia Lewis. According to City Administrator Evan Vogel, Lewis was still within her probationary employment period, and the discharge was “for conduct unbecoming a senior level employee and performance concerns.”

Tabled the appointment of new Parks, Trails and Recreation Commission members in order to do further research to make sure all applicants lived within the city limits.

Approved an increase of the Fire Relief Association Service Pension Benefit amount from $5,200 per year to $5,800 per year. 

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