Making a 7th Street connection

Monticello City Council members have ordered a feasibility study on extending West Seventh Street to connect Minnesota and Elm streets.
“It’s currently a broken link in our transportation system,” said City Engineer Bruce Westby at a meeting Aug. 27. He added the state Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration will require this link before allowing a new interchange on I-94 at the city’s west end.
To stretch about a mile, at 44 feet wide, the Seventh Street project is listed in the capital improvement plan for 2013 and would total $1.25 million, according to city estimates. Westby said the project would include a bituminous path north of the road, to extend the trail located north of E. Seventh Street, plus LED street lighting.
Funding sources will be determined in the study, but Westby noted the work would be eligible for the city’s state aid dollars that total $917,851 in 2012.
He added that the city has been in contact with the owners of some undeveloped land in the target area, with the owners saying they would be willing to negotiate a special assessment in order to expedite development. “They feel (our project) could help them to market those properties,” he said.

Other city notes
• Council members voted 4-1 to pass a resolution supporting U.S. Bike Route 5 that would follow the Mississippi River from its Minnesota origins into Louisiana.
Tom Perrault dissented in the council vote, noting he voted against the plan also in November 2010. “To me, the return (for Monticello) is very, very minimal,” he said. “The federal government should be doing other things.”
• Community Center Director Kitty Baltos noted the municipal pool will be closing Sept. 4 with the reopening scheduled Nov. 1. City-sponsored lap swimming will move to Monticello Middle School, and the Super 8 motel is opening its pool for the city’s water aerobics schedule plus one day for open swim per week.
Baltos said the Community Center will open a gym program for Thursday nights to include time for games such as kickball and dodgeball.
Also, the center will host an indoor screening of “The Lorax” on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16.
• Council member Glen Posusta said he has noticed weeds are prevailing, 3 to 4 inches wide at some points, between pavement and concrete gutters through town. “I know that eventually that tends to break down the pavement,” he said.
Public Works Director Bob Paschke said his department would address the matter.

By Paul Rignell