If everything goes according to plan, Gould Street in Redwood Falls is going to be under construction starting in May. This is the portion of the street that runs from Second Street south to Normandale Road and passes by the tennis courts, aquatic center, Memorial baseball field, the hospital, the fire hall and St. Catherine’s Catholic church.

According to Andrew Kehren of Bolton and Menk, Inc., which is coordinating the project for the City of Redwood Falls, the scope of the work includes a total reconstruction of the roadway from Second Street to Broadway, including new water main, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, curb and gutter, sidewalk and bituminous surface, with the portion from Broadway south to Normandale including a mill and overlay of the surface.

The estimated cost of the project is $1,833,000, with a majority of those funds coming in the form of state and federal dollars.

According to Kehren, the process to do the work on Gould Street actually began about five years ago when an application for funding was submitted. The project was added to the list, and this year it rose toward the top of that list to receive funding.

The estimate includes federal dollars in the amount of $947,000, with the state providing an estimated $541,263. The remaining portion of the project would come from local sources, said Kehren.

Kehren said one of the major additions to the project will be the inclusion of sidewalk access at the intersections to meet ADA requirements. The sidewalk itself will continue to run the length of Gould Street from Second Street to Fallwood Road.

Another of the planned changes in the roadway is to lessen the steep slope at the Broadway intersection, added Kehren, making it more gradual. Planned changes in the utility work are intended to address flooding issues, especially at the hospital, said Kehren.

As the work is intended to be comprehensive, one of the issues the project will encounter are the existing trees along the street. 

Kehren said the plan would be to remove those trees – approximately 18 of them – along the street.

“You can see where the trees are pushing up the curb,” said Kehren, adding those tree roots are also impacting some of the driveways.

Jim Doering, city public works projects director, said the intent would be to have a public meeting before the work would begin to talk with residents along the street to discuss the project and to explain the need to remove the trees. Doering said in many cases the roots have extended into the work area and would be cut off anyway, which, he said, could kill some of the trees with others losing the stability offered by that portion of the established root system. When it comes to replacement of those trees, the city would likely offer a program similar to what it has done in other areas of the community.

The city council authorized putting the project out for bids during its meeting Feb. 7, which is contingent on federal approval of the project, with the intent to hold a bid opening in late March and a tentative award date in early April.

Should all of that happen according to the construction schedule the intent would be to begin the work May 1.

In addition to authorizing the project to go out for bids, the council also adopted a resolution requesting an advance of its municipal state aid funds to help cover the costs of the project.

According to Doering, the city receives an annual state aid allocation of $225,000, and it has the ability to request advances on that funding for up to five years in the future.

The resolution includes a request for advancement of $482,228 in state aid for the Gould Street project.

In other action during its meeting, the city council:

• Approved the employment of Sherri Ahrens-Ness as the full-time liquor store clerk at an hourly rate of $16.57 effective Feb. 23.

• Appointed Jeannette Mertens to a partial term on the housing and redevelopment authority replacing Herb Brauer and David Okins to the police commission.

• Approved a request to replace the wireless infrastructure at the Redwood Area Hospital at a cost of $18,912.

• Approved the appointment of Dillon Kuehn and Elliott Serbus to the Redwood Falls Fire Department starting with a one-year probationary term.

• Approved the purchase of a new keyless entry system at the Redwood Area Community Center. According to Jackie Edwards, city parks and recreation director, the new system, which comes at a cost of $17,724. Edwards said the new system addresses an issue that exists with the current system not meeting building code standards and it will better provide security and reporting needs.

• Authorized a request for the parks and recreation department to apply for a Bernick’s Foundation Grant to upgrade the playground equipment at Legion Park.