In 2018, the City of Redwood Falls began the conversion of the downtown business district to an underground electrical system.

Due to an early onset of cold weather, the first phase of that project was not completed, but as that work continues the process to start the second phase of the project is also going to begin.

That process moved forward April 16 when the city council approved a request from Chuck Heins, city public utilities superintendent, to solicit bids for the next phase.

The work as part of Phase 2 includes the alley between Third and Fourth streets from Minnesota Street east to Lincoln Street, as well as the alley between Second Street and Bridge Street. This will complete the conversion of the downtown area, said Heins.

Heins told the council that the bids for the second phase will be opened May 15, with the proposal presented for approval at the June 4 council meeting. The second phase work is part of the the capital outlay budget.  The electrical conversion has an estimated cost of $750,000.

Heins said the first phase work still requires the completion of the concrete replacement in the alley between second and third streets. He also said the secondary conversion work, including the hooking up of the power to businesses, is going to be done by Redwood Falls Public Utilities. That is also the case in the second phase. The council was informed by Heins that the phase one hook-up work should start soon.

In other action during its meeting the council:

• Approved a request from Teri Smith of the Redwood Falls Public Library to apply for an early care and education grant from the Southwest Initiative Foundation to help fund a story trail at the library. Smith told the council that she is working with a local Boy Scout who would do the work of establishing the trail as an Eagle Scout project. The request is for up to $5,000, and Smith said the funds would be used for the posts that would be erected on the trail, as well as for the books that would be used.

• Approved the employment of Jerry Mertens as a street maintenance worker at a starting rate of $22.32 per hour.

• Approved a resolution to submit a request to the Minnesota Department of Transportation for an advance on the city’s annual municipal state aid allocation. According to Jim Doering, city public works project coordinator, the request of $166,512 would be used to help pay for the Gould Street project.