Rockford tackles transportation issues

Rockford Streets Supervisor John Quirk, at the Rockford City Council’s May 27 meeting, presented the council with a repair and an improvement project along with bids for the work.

Quirk explained that harsh winter weather had resulted in damage to Walnut Street at the Boulder Ridge intersection. Specifically, the intersection has lost its crown and this is making it difficult for water to get the curbs. Walnut Street is scheduled for fog sealing, a project that was approved at an earlier council meeting.

The other project is a scheduled improvement, a 2-inch overlay on Riverside Park levy trail.  The trail was installed about 16 years ago and this would be the first major improvement to it.

The projects were bid by two businesses, although Quirk attempted to get three bids. One did not respond, he told council, and of the two that did, one closed its doors by the time of the meeting (with a separate company offering to honor that bid). The lower of the two bids, however, was submitted by a new contractor and came in with a combined project cost of $16,332. Quirk stated he would work closely with the contractor if council chose to award him this project. He added that the new business owner was from Rockford, and Councilor Jeannette Graner stated that she was all for giving a new local business owner an opportunity.

The council voted 4-0 to approve the projects, to be paid out of the city’s street Capitol Improvement Plan in which there is adequate funding.


City Administrator Dan Madsen relayed to the council that Wright County passed an Amended Cost Participation Policy on May 6 that would help share in funding of city infrastructure.

Madsen also spoke briefly about one of the city’s projects, the picnic shelter and adjoining bathrooms and kitchen in Riverside Park. Before her retirement, former City Administrator Nancy Carswell submitted a grant in an effort to offset some of the construction costs for the project. The old Lions Building and attached picnic shelter will be torn down, and a new structure is planned for the same spot. Madsen said that staff should find out about the grant around July 1.

In regard to the HVAC improvements needed at the Historic Stork House, the grant application is in progress. Several artifacts that could be damaged by the house’s existing mold will be stored at BankWest, and some have been displayed in various spots around town, including City Hall.

Madsen also reported that the cities of Wright County were continuing to meet and work on a joint powers agreement regarding transportation. He stated that, barring county action, the agreement could be ready to review at the June 24 council meeting, if not sooner. A June 30 deadline has been imposed for the current services, which are contracted for and overseen by Wright County. Some cities, Madsen said, contribute to the services now, but the county is not in a position to continue as it has, and this means cities will need to step forward to keep public transportation in place.

Wright County Commissioner Michael Potter also spoke to the issue of public transportation in Wright County, including the need for it, a short history of what’s been provided and some of the frustrations associated with moving forward in a new direction.

The next regular meeting of the Rockford City Council is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, at the Rockford City Hall, 6031 Main St.