The downtown district of Redwood Falls has overhead electrical lines that provide power to several businesses and other offices in that area. According to Chuck Heins, public utilities superintendent, the structures holding up those lines are starting to fail and are in disrepair.

The city needs to decide whether to fix those structures as that is needed or come up with another solution. Recognizing the fact that the lines, as they exist above ground, are in close proximity to buildings creates a safety concern, as well.

Heins proposed a plan that would take those wires in the downtown district and put them in the ground. 

The conversion of the downtown area from overhead to underground lines will take some time, said Heins, adding the plan would be to do the work in phases.

The plan, added Heins, would be to start with the conversion in the area east to west from Lincoln Street to Minnesota Street and north to south between Second Street and Third Street.

The initial cost is $65,000 for professional services to help with the conversion process and would be conducted by DGR Engineering. The work itself has an estimated cost of $586,000, with added costs incurred by the city for the work done by local staff.

Heins said he allocated $750,000 in the 2018 budget for this portion of the project. The plan would be to continue the work in ensuing years, and Heins estimated a total project cost for a complete conversion of the downtown district of approximately $1.5 million.

The council approved the request. In other action during its meeting Nov. 7, the Redwood Falls city council:

• Approved a parade permit for Redwood Area Chamber and Tourism for Nov. 17. The Holiday Parade of Lights will be using portions of East Second, South Washington and East 4th streets for the parade route.

• Approved Zach Jahnz to a one year probationary period on the Redwood Falls Fire Department.

• Accepted the resignation of Rachel Viergutz from her position as administrative assistant effective Nov. 17.

• Approved a request from the Redwood Area Hospital to move forward with the integration of the Welch Allyn vital signs monitors into the electronic medical record. The cost to implement the integration and to purchase necessary items to conduct the work is $54,948. The intent is to create efficiencies within the system through the use of this technology.

• Approved cigarette and other tobacco products license application for Casey’s Retail Company, the Liquor Lodge, Redwood County VFW Post 2553 and Walmart.

• Approved an on-sale liquor license application for VFW Post 2553.

• Approved a Sunday on-sale liquor license for VFW Post 2553.

• Approved an on-sale 3.2 malt liquor license for Four Seas Redwood, Inc.

• Approved an off-sale 3.2 malt liquor license for Walmart.

• Approved solid waste commercial hauling licenses for Waste Management of MN, Inc, and West Central Sanitation, Inc.

• Approved a therapeutic massage license for Bridge Street Massage.

• Approved a wine license for Four Seas Redwood, Inc.

• Approved the city water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer rates for 2018. They include: a $10.90 per month water base charge, a water usage charge of $5.21 per month per 100 cubic feet, a sanitary sewer base charge of $9.74 per month, a sanitary sewer usage charge of $3.18 per 100 cubic feet for water consumed, and a storm sewer utility charge of $8.24 per month per one residential equivalency factor.

• Approved the bid for replacement of the south substation switchgear at a cost go $580,750 from the Harold K. Scholtz Company.

• Approved a request from the Redwood Falls Police Department to order a 2018 Ford Explorer from Kohls-Weelborg Ford of Redwood Falls at a cost of $27,824. The order is being done in 2017 to take advantage of a $2,200 discount that is available. While the vehicle will be ordered in 2017 the actual purchase will take place in 2018.

• Approved a bid from TNT Construction to do repair work on Cedar Cliff Road at a cost of $15,020. The road has seen significant washouts due to large storm events. The city will be able to use state disaster funds allocated to Redwood County to help cover 75 percent of the costs.

• Approved a bid from Schaefer Well Company in the amount of $57,394 to repair city well number five. During routine maintenance it was discovered that a crack had occurred in the casing of that well. Rather than dig a new well, the city will move forward with a plan to line the well with a new 10-inch casing inside of the 16-inch original casing. Digging a new well would have an estimate cost of $100,000.