Belle Plaine officials are taking the next step in making street improvements slated for the Jane Properties subdivision in northeast Belle Plaine.

At the meeting on Monday night, Nov. 4, the city council accepted the preliminary engineer’s report that estimated the costs, necessity and feasibility of the road project that would adjust Hickory Boulevard and construct Prosper Street. The street project was part of the plan from its planning phase.

In his report, City Engineer Joseph Duncan noted that the North Sanitary Interceptor line, the recent sanitary sewer project dug under Highway 169 to facilitate future development in the area northeast of Belle Plaine, was in part adjusted to accommodate the Jane Properties subdivision.

Belle Plaine Mayor Chris Meyer stated at Monday’s meeting that the roughly $750,000 worth of adjustments to the North Sanitary Interceptor would not have been put in place if not for the Jane Properties subdivision and maintained that the city has done all that they could to accommodate the development of the subdivision, a sentiment he has expressed to the Herald in the past. Meyer stated that the interceptor line likely would have stopped at the eastern edge of Highway 169 and not extended into the subdivision

“It’s a very important point that none of this would have happened if this property owner would have not wanted this extension, so at this point the taxpayers of the city have basically footed this cost,” Meyer said.

The estimated cost for the improvements to Hickory Boulevard and the construction of the connected Prosper Street is around $860,000, a figure derived from the costs of other similar projects. Improvements include adding curb and gutter, water mains and walking paths, among other improvements. Should the city move forward with the improvements, they would likely assess 100 percent of the improvements’ costs to the landowner, Duncan stated.

A public hearing regarding the improvements is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16.

The sign located near the water treatment facility near Highway 169 is poised to get a face-lift following Monday’s meeting. The sign, which was donated to the city by the Belle Plaine Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 1, 2018, is set to get an electronic display as well as stone and aluminum accents. The chamber of commerce has pledged $15,000 of the sign’s $82,500 improvement costs. The remainder of the funds would be a direct spend down of the city’s general fund, according to a city memo about the project.

In a work session immediately following Monday’s business meeting, Public Works Superintendent Al Fahey explained to the mayor and city council that rebar ties are beginning to show through the concrete of the main deck at the Belle Plaine Aquatic Center.

Fahey stated that he brought the issue to Bradbury Stamm Construction, the pool’s contractor, and stated that he initially wanted the company to fully replace the deck. Concrete experts working alongside the company stated that they had an alternate solution that would involve drilling cores into the areas where ties are poking through and patching them with a material that could at least somewhat match the existing concrete on the deck. The solution would also require sealing the deck with a deeply penetrating sealer, Fahey noted. The contractor also reportedly stated that they would be willing to extend the warranty of the deck by one year into 2021.

Fahey stated that after reviewing the alternatives, the drilling and patching approach seemed most favorable, given the risks demolishing and replacing the upper deck poses, including risks to the facility’s foundation and otherwise unaffected areas of concrete susceptible to cracks caused by jackhammers.

“I have nightmares thinking about them tearing this deck out,” Fahey said.

The mayor and council supported pursuing the patch and seal approach and pushed for further negotiations and a longer warranty on the deck given that the sealing process may become a regularly reoccurring project.

Fahey estimates that there could be upwards of 1,000 potential spots in which rebar ties could eventually poke through the concrete.

Conversations of contract renegotiation will likely carry over into a closed work session in the future, but City Attorney Bob Vose stated that the city is on firm legal ground to ask for an extended warranty on the deck.

Also on the Agenda

• Todd Otto was named the assistant public works superintendent, a new role to assist current superintendent Al Fahey.

• The city began talks about allowing higher buildings and smaller units in R-7 districts, in an effort to allow for denser housing.

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