The major project to upgrade Minnesota trunk highway 19/71 through Redwood Falls (Bridge Street) is scheduled to be done this year. The project is moving forward and took a big step toward the start of work March 6 when the Redwood Falls city council approved a cooperative agreement with the Minnesota Department of transportation (MnDOT).

As part of the agreement, the city approved financial commitment to MnDOT for its share of construction costs, which is estimated at $381,105.84. The project will include several improvements, including ADA changes and stoplight upgrades at the intersections with Swain Street and DeKalb Street.

According to Keith Muetzel, city administrator, the city shares the cost of the stoplights at both intersections. As it owns the Swain Street legs it will pay for 50 percent of the cost of the stoplights at that intersection.

At the DeKalb Street intersection, the city will pay 25 percent of the cost for the leg of roadway that goes north past the fairgrounds, with MnDOT covering 50 percent of the cost and Redwood County covering 25 percent as the owner of DeKalb Street heading south.

The project also includes the installation of a new stoplight at CSAH 101 (the Runnings intersection), with a 50 percent commitment from the state and a 25 percent commitment from both the city and the county. Work on that intersection has been discussed for years, and Muetzel said it is good to see that project coming to fruition. 

He added a number of people in the community have been asking about the project, which is scheduled to be done this year.

Muetzel said the plan would be to keep the road open throughout the project, with only a few minor closures anticipated. The project also includes the addition of a left turn lane heading east to Quality Drive.

Muetzel said MnDOT will schedule a public meeting prior to the start of the project to allow residents to learn more about the project and the timeline for completion.

In other action during its March 6 meeting, the city council:

• Awarded the bid for the seven-bay hangar construction project at the Redwood Falls Municipal airport to Everstrong Construction of Redwood Falls, which submitted a bid of $1,296,031.46.

The bid is well below the engineer’s estimate of $1,505,276. There were four bids submitted for the project, which were opened March 1. The new seven-bay hangar is being constructed using federal funding in the amount of $1,243,000, with an additional 5 percent coming from the state and a local share of 5 percent of the cost.

The city has been receiving funding for the project from other cities as an advance on future federal dollars, which would be paid back by the city to those other entities using its anticipated federal funding. The city had anticipated, based on the estimate, that it would have to acquire approximately $100,000 of additional federal funding from other sources, but the low bid award will mean that will not be necessary.

According to Muetzel, the intent of building the hangar is to help meet the goal of making the airport as self-sustaining as is possible, as it receives rent for use of space in the hangar. The city has received nine letters of intent to rent space in the new hangar, which Muetzel said indicates the hangar will have a number of tenants ready to move in upon completion.

The work on the hangar is set to begin this year.

Muetzel added the new hangar will mean having new planes at the airport, which also means added revenue through the sale of fuel, as well. Muetzel said the airport is also looking to add to its revenue through rental of the space in the airport office building. There is approximately 4,000 square feet of space available.

• Approved a 3.2 malt liquor license for the Redwood Speedway.

• Awarded the generator repair and rewind project to L&S Electric of Minneapolis, which submitted a bid of $124,520. There were three bids submitted for the project.

• Authorized the purchase of a new Daktronics scoreboard for Memorial baseball field, which has an estimated cost of $22,000.

According to Muetzel, the Redwood Falls Lions Club has agreed to cover $20,000 of the cost of the project, with the remaining funds coming from the city-school fund. The Lions Club will pay for the scoreboard over a four-year period, with the city covering the up-front costs of the scoreboard and then being paid back by the Lions Club.

• Approved the employment of Colby Davis as an officer with the Redwood Falls Police Department pending the results of a background check, physician examination, psychological test and physical agility test, at a rate of $23.90 per hour.