by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
The Rogers City Council agreed to take the next step with plans to extend Rogers Drive to Brockton Lane and discussed ongoing negotiations with affected landowners.
While the owners of the Kinghorn and Henry properties that the new road will run through are on board with the project, owners of the Vevea property have a number of apprehensions.
City Engineer Bret Weiss revealed to the Council that one important issue for the Vevea family is the ability to keep the billboards on their property, as they receive money for leasing them.
Mayor Jay Bunting said of the billboards, “It has been our stated intention that with time these things can come down.”
He advised Weiss that the Council would be willing to consider an extension of the conditional use permit for the billboards, but not an agreement that would allow them to remain up indefinitely.
Weiss informed the Council that although negotiations were still active, if an agreement was unable to be reached the road might have to be constructed from Brockton Lane to the edge of the Vevea property.
“That’s a million dollar road they’re getting for free,” Bunting said, referring to a condition of the City’s offer that will defer assessments for the road interest-free until development occurs on the Vevea property.
The Rogers Drive extension is a high priority for the Council, as it is needed for the 300,000-square-foot Fed Ex facility being constructed along Brockton Lane and I-94 and for future development on the adjacent land. It will become an even more crucial link in years to come, as the City of Dayton and other local lawmakers are working hard to secure funding for an I-94 interchange at Brockton Lane.
Council member Maureen Stanley made it known that she hopes development occurs in a way that will preserve some of the wooded areas on the land.
“I’m not a tree hugger, but save some of the trees,” she said.
In other matters, Claudia Dumont, a Project Manager at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, gave the Council an update on the I-94 lane expansion project.
She said, “We are aware of the County Road 144 (and Hwy. 101) interchange that’s going in. They have considered that when looking into detours and ramp work. They’re already tuned into that.”
She also said that preliminary cost estimates of $35 million to $46 million have come down as the design has been refined. Current estimates have the cost projected at $30 million to $35 million.
Bids will be awarded July 1. Work is expected to begin shortly thereafter.