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Future infrastructure comes into focus for Mitchell council

Construction work continues on South Sanborn Boulevard on Monday in Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The goals for the Mitchell City Council in the 2019 budget year came into focus Monday night and the council didn't provide any surprises: Infrastructure will be a focus of future construction efforts.

Two primary projects were at hand Monday during a council work session at City Hall, in which no action was taken. The first was on the city's second phase of improvements on Sanborn Boulevard from First Avenue to Eighth Avenue, expected to cost nearly $4.6 million. Second, the council considered the East Central drainage study results, which provided recommendations on how best to proceed with flooding issues in the area of Tax Increment Financing District 22 at three intersections near the Klock Werks custom motorcycle business. That project could cost between $2 million and $5 million, depending on the scope of the project.

The city has a better understanding of how the projects fit into the 2019 budget next month when requests from the city's departments are known, but it was clear that both infrastructure projects were priorities.

"I've been worried in the past about biting off more projects that we can manage at one time," Councilman Steve Rice said. "But if we do those two projects, I'm not afraid of that. If we add a couple more big projects, I'm not sure we can manage them all at once."

On the Sanborn Boulevard project, Jeff McCormick, a project engineer for SPN and Associates, said it will involve more than 200 days of work from April to October 2019, replacing, among other items, clay sewer pipes and cast iron water mains. That project would be done over three phases, hoping to allow some streets to re-open when possible.

McCormick said the improved storm sewer system would help better drain the street between Seventh and Ninth Avenues — near the Subway restaurant — that frequently floods during rain storms. While pipes will remain going north, more of that water would flow south from the area to First Avenue, under Edmunds and the railroad bridge area and into Dry Run Creek.

Work on the north side of the Sanborn viaduct bridge would be the first phase of work next summer, he said, repairing utilities at the intersection of First Avenue and Sanborn Boulevard. From there, repairs would move northward in the second phase from First Avenue to Seventh Avenue, fixing the pavement and utilities in the area. The third phase would involve work between Seventh and Ninth avenues on Sanborn to address the flooding, along with street pavement and utility work. A primary focus, McCormick said, is also to find a way to maintain business access in that area.

"We've been meeting with business owners between Seventh and Ninth," McCormick said. "We will seek temporary access easements ... and try to accommodate this area."

Like the current construction work, the detour routes would include Minnesota Street going north-south, and Havens Avenue and 13th Street (when construction moves further north) heading east-west. Trucks will continue to be routed onto the Highway 37 bypass.

Some of the council members' questions involved the length of closure at the intersection of First Avenue and Sanborn Boulevard. McCormick said after the initial phase of work is completed in late spring and early summer, the intersection would re-open, potentially easing concerns about east-west traffic and accessing downtown.

McCormick also provided an update on the current Sanborn project — from Havens Avenue to First Avenue — which he said is a couple of days behind schedule due to issues with a paver but hopes to have the next lane in the project paved on Friday.

"Hopefully with weather and equipment prevailing, we'll be able to get that next lane paved this week," McCormick said.

Drainage concerns

The council also heard the summary of a report regarding what is being called the East Central Drainage System in the city, consisting of about one square mile. The storm water piping in much of that area in the system is surcharged or not suitable for major storm events.

The three primary intersections where water ponds at higher than 6 inches is East Hackberry Avenue and South Kimball Street; Juniper and Langdon; and Main and Elm. The Klock Werks corner at Hackberry and Kimball is lowest of those three intersections.

The study found that proposed storm sewer improvements detailed in TIF District 22 — such as storm sewers and inlets — could have had an adverse effect on ponding water in the area. The alternative proposed Monday called for larger piping from the Kimball/Hackberry area to Dry Run Creek.

The costs to complete improvements within the TIF district were between $2.08 million and $2.98 million, which could also include new sanitary sewer, water main, asphalt streets and curb and gutter.

Additional estimates were figured outside the area, replacing outdated sewer mains, iron pipe water mains and existing streets in the South Rowley Street area, which is also scheduled to be replaced in coming years. That estimate was $5.08 million, and would funneling storm water to Dry Run Creek.

Aside from the discussion items on the budget and future planning, the only official business acted upon Monday was the council's canvassing and official certification of the city election results from June 5. No changes were made, affirming Bob Everson as the city's new mayor, Dan Sabers as the city's Ward 1 council representative and Kevin McCardle retaining his Ward 2 council seat. All three seats are three-year terms.

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