Le Center Street Project

The highlighted project area includes parts of Park and Waterville avenues, as well as Spors Street, Bowler Street, Sixth Street and Montgomery Avenue. The streets would see a variety of improvements to surfacing, utilities such as water, storm and sewer, curb and gutter and sidewalks. (Carson Hughes/Le Sueur County News)

The Le Center City Council has moved forward on plans for a street project. At a workshop meeting prior to the council meeting on Sept. 10, provided direction on the improvements to City Engineer Joel Hawbaker.

The project included plans to reconstruct 6,400 feet of road at an estimated cost of $3,68 million; 25% of the construction costs, $918,971, would be paid by residents adjacent to the project area while the rest of the costs would be paid for citywide through city funds.

The roads selected for repair include Park Avenue from Tyrone Street to the north end, Waterville Avenue from Bowler Street to Sixth Street, Bowler Street, Spors Street, Sixth Street and Montgomery Avenue.

City Engineer Hawbaker stated that the project limits may change from what was presented to the council on Tuesday.

“Final project limits and specific design details will not be finalized until after the public improvement hearing to allow for public feedback for council consideration,” said Hawbaker.

At the City Council meeting after the workshop meeting, City Council set a public improvement hearing for Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. The hearing is on Election Day, but none of Le Center’s city councilors will be up for re-election this year.

“[The public will] have the opportunity during the informational meeting to give their input,” said Mayor Josh Frederickson. “Our purpose is to set the project as is, and if we need to alter it due to public opinion and input, we can definitely do so.”

The project proposes several renovations to the targeted streets, including new installations of bituminous road pavement, concrete curb and gutter, the removal and replacement of the storm sewer and the sanitary sewer and the replacement of water main.

Hawbaker has predicted that if road infrastructure is not replaced, maintenance costs will continue to rise as the roads deteriorate.

“The project area in question has very poor pavement conditions and poor drainage issues,” said Hawbaker. “The utility infrastructure is in excess of 50 years old and is in need of continuous maintenance to ensure functionality.”

One of the major proposals left to the council to deliberate was the addition of sidewalks. Many of the councilors spoke in favor of adding sidewalks to the project area.

“If it keeps kids off the streets, off bikes and skateboards and the like, it’s only advantageous to the city,” said Councillor Nathan Hintz. “I don’t know that we’ve had any accidents, but we would like to be proactive on this issue.”

City Council proposed adding sidewalk to the project area south of Spors Street including the south side of Spors. Mayor Frederickson also moved to include sidewalk on Park Avenue from Sixth Street to Tyrone Street. City Administrator Chris Collins cautioned that the sidewalk on Park could be controversial with some of the homeowners on the route, but Frederickson pointed out that the sidewalk would keep kids off the road.

“If they’re not happy about it would they rather have kids in the streets then? That would be my argument,” said Frederickson. “Part of this and the whole reason for it was to provide children a safe route to schools.”

If approved by the council, construction on the project is expected to take place between April and November 2020.

Reach Reporter Carson Hughes at 507-931-8572.

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