A picture of the original Main Street project from the 1930s as shared by reader Dean Ellingson. This would be at the Kwik Trip intersection.
A picture of the original Main Street project from the 1930s as shared by reader Dean Ellingson. This would be at the Kwik Trip intersection.

The Spring Grove City Council reviewed the latest set of specifications to be submitted to MnDOT at their Oct. 2 meeting. Called the "95 percent plan," the 115-page document was reviewed by architect Tim Hruska of WHKS during an hour-long presentation.

Hruska said that additional 20 or so pages will soon be added by the landscape architect. By the time the final plan is submitted to MnDOT's central office on or about Dec. 13, the document will probably number 150-160 pages, he added.

Everything from roadway designs to utilities was touched on. Hruska said the new storm-sewer design will actually handle more water (close to a 100-year event) than MnDOT requires. It will include added catch basins, and a "safe overflow" design, he noted.

So far, environmental sampling has not turned up any "smoking guns," Hruska stated. "We have not found any petroleum, and preliminary tests from soil tests are OK. But we never really know until we start digging. All I can tell you is there are no great concerns right now.

"A lot of the rock is diggable. It's a weathered limestone, and we will be able to use a conventional open cut technique for the sanitary sewer."

The work will be broken up into four separate stages, but contractors will work on more than one at a time.

Of note to motorists is that (under the current construction plan) at least a partial road opening on the first stages will be complete before the final two portions are dug up, Hruska pointed out.

The final layer of asphalt will be put off until all of the heavy equipment is through with the site, Hruska added. That's because some damage to the surface is always possible while machinery is working in the corridor.

Power outlets will be provided at light poles for ornaments and decorative lights. GFCI's will also be included at tree plantings.

A few of the final decisions on selected "aesthetics" such as sidewalk colors and light pole suppliers will probably be made at the last minute.

Hruska said some plantings can be reserved for MnDOT's Community Landscaping Program.

Although the agency will not pay for labor, perennial plant materials that grace the right-of-way may be paid for, Hruska added, noting extensive work in La Crescent. Hokah has also used those grants.

Solar-powered flashing lights are envisioned for the school crossing. Those carry a $6,000 to $7,000 per pair price tag.

On Oct. 25, an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) specialist from MnDOT will walk the corridor, Hruska said, adding that WHKS will be on hand to make sure the city clears that hurdle.

MnDOT will probably take 2-3 weeks to review the 95 percent plan, Hruska reported. Houston County is also being kept in the loop. The Dec. 13 "Final Report" is just that, Hruska said.

"Everything will have been completed by both the city and the district. At that point, it is signed, sealed and delivered."

The bids will be let by MnDOT on or about March 22-23, 2013. "You want to get contractors when they're hungry for work," Hruska stated, noting that going out for bids while a lot of other projects are being let can backfire.

A hard-copy set of the plans will reside at city hall, the council was told.

Statement on closed meeting

Mayor Saundra Solum read a summary report on an emergency council meeting called on Sept. 26. "Concerning a grievance filed by an employee, a closed meeting was held in conformance with the Minnesota Open Meeting Law," was the extent of the report (verbatim).

At their lasting meeting, the council had scheduled a closed meeting to be held at the end of their Oct. 2 meeting, but it was not on the schedule.

Publishing options reviewed

The council briefly discussed which documents should be published in the local newspaper.

City Administrator Theresa Coleman stated that the minimum required by law would be printed, according to standards provided by the League of Minnesota Cities.

Councilman Robert Vogel agreed that most municipalities only publish what they must, but later added, "I kind of like my official records in the paper."

Solum asked that more extensive material be provided online, and that an Internet address to link citizens to that information should be listed in the newspaper notices.

She did not elaborate on how residents who are not computer-savvy will receive additional information, but council members noted that those who need documents can stop by at City Hall or the local library.

PT police officer to be hired

Coleman reported that she had no recommendation for hiring in regard to the council's April 17 motion to hire a part-time police officer.

"We interviewed but did not come up with anybody," she stated, "I do not have a name."

Coleman added later that one applicant "stood out, but there was a question regarding his licensing."

Councilmember Lorilyn Dehning made a motion to try again. "Let's re-advertise and finish what we started," she said. Seconded by Vogel, the motion passed 3-2. Solum and Councilman Steve Kemp voted "no."

Dehning volunteered to attend the interviews.

"Let's try and do this within six months," Vogel said.

Next meeting set

The council will hold its next regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 168 W. Main St. in Spring Grove