Monticello School Board gets update on key road improvement project

Monticello City Administrator Jeff O’Neill and City Engineer Shibani Bisson provided a School Boulevard overlay update during Monday’s school board meeting.

The duo also presented additional information about pathway replacement projects planned in residential areas near Fallon Avenue and School Boulevard.

City staff has been meeting with the district to discuss the School Boulevard improvements and the proposed assessments.

The district will widen the driveway access at the high school and improve the access at Eastview Elementary.

Staff will be working with the district during the project design process and may include these improvements with the project with these costs being assessed.

Additional properties fronting the roadways are not being considered to be assessed, Bisson reported, because the properties do not have direct School Boulevard access and consist of rear-yard frontages.

Funding sources for the improvement projects include school district assessments, municipal state aid, and a future bond issue that will finance the project.

Improvements to School Boulevard between Fenning Avenue and Edmonson Avenue and portions of the adjacent pathway, include  the rehabilitation of streets, curb and gutter, pathways and other work.

Improvements under consideration include milling the existing bituminous pavement and paving a 2.0-inch bituminous overlay along School Boulevard between Fenning Avenue and Edmonson Avenue.

Pathway improvements include reclaiming existing bituminous pathways and paving with new bituminous pavement along the north side of School Boulevard between Edmonson Avenue and Fallon Avenue and the south side of School Boulevard between Fallon Avenue and Cardinal Hills Park.

According to O’Neill, a recent series of meetings involving city officials and the school district provided a unique opportunity to brain storm regarding projects.

“We’ve been able to create an on-going dialogue with ideas,” O’Neill said, referring to meetings involving Board Chairman Robbie Smith, himself, Superintendent Jim Johnson and Mayor Brian Stumpf.

“One of the main ideas was to provide a quarterly update on a specific project, the School Boulevard project, which will start fairly soon,” O’Neill said. “We also talked about some other projects as well.”

According to O’Neill, one goal is to have the city and school district work more closely regarding capital improvement planning.

The school district and the city want to make sure their our thoughts, plans, and funding mechanisms are coordinated in the best way, O’Neill reported.

“Another thing we want to look at is potential installation of tennis court lights at Pinewood Elementary,” he said.

Program awareness cooperation involving the Monticello Community Center and the District 882 Community Education was another highlight mentioned by O’Neill.

“It’s really working out well,” he said. “Both entities have really found their niche in the community, without providing too much redundancy.”

Planned athletic fields in the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park are still a ways off, O’Neill said.

“That project is coming,” he told the school board. “We’ve acquired additional land for the overall park, but for the athletic fields portion of the park, we’re still planning on how we are going to use these fields.”

According to O’Neill, District 882 Activities Director Gary Revenig will play a key role as an ex-officio member of a project planning group.

“That’s another area where we are going to try and cooperate in the future.”

Bisson provided board members with project maps and information regarding the School Boulevard overlay project.

“The Monticello Public Works Department has done a lot of patching over the years on School Boulevard,” she said. “When we evaluated the pavement, we determined it was time to complete another improvement.”

Bisson said milling work will involve the entire length of the roadway and placement of new matting.

According to Bisson, wider school bus accesses are also included in the School Boulevard project. “We are adding that to the project as well,” Bisson said.

The city is also considering a boulevard tree planting program with the project. “We want to put the trees where the make the most sense,” she said, referring to the large electric power line that runs through the area.

“We are going to have a meeting with Great River Energy to better understand what their constraints are, and then we’ll put together a tree planting plan.”

The city also wants to complete a trail connection between two ponds in the Cardinal Hills development.

“There are high school kids crossing there, and the city wants to look at paving that trail between Fallon Avenue and School Boulevard,” Bisson reported, adding District 882 will be assessed about $170,000 for the project. The total project cost is about $550,000; that cost only includes the street improvements.

Bid-letting for the project is scheduled in May, Bisson said.

Construction is scheduled between June and September when school is not and session. The project will be constructed under traffic. “There will be some delays and lane closures, but again, our goal is doing this project when school isn’t in session.”

Contact Tim Hennagir at [email protected]