Corcoran to study feasibility of paving 3 roads

Residents have wanted paving for 15 years

The Corcoran City Council, Thursday, Aug. 14, debated the issue of how to pay for the paving of 38 miles of gravel roads in the city, while a number of residents in the audience waited to hear what would happen with three streets in particular — Treeline and Foxline Drives and Trail Haven Road.

At least one of these residents had been waiting for 20 years to get the good news that her street would be paved. During that time, she and her husband have retired and now would have to pay assessments with reduced incomes. Meanwhile, in May, most of the residents in the neighborhood petitioned the city to pave the three streets. The petition included a financial plan for the project based upon figures provided nine months ago by the city of Corcoran.

During the council discussion, residents learned that paving their streets is likely to cost more than the figures mentioned in their petition.

Finally, Mayor Ken Guenthner urged councilors to begin the statutory process for ordering a road project for the three streets. The process begins with directing engineers to draft a feasibility report and moves on to public hearings, calling for bids and specifications and awarding contracts. He said he feared that if the council did not take this first step, the paving of Treeline, Foxline and Trail Haven might never happen.

One resident said she and her neighbors have been asking the city for 15 years to pave their streets. “We want those roads paved,” she said. “We’ve had enough of this. Something needs to be done.”

A 34-year resident of Corcoran said the city should spend money on paving roads rather than buying property for ballfields.

The council voted to start the statutory process under one condition. If bids are too costly, the city would not do the paving project at this time.

If the project proceeds, Treeline, Foxline and Trail Haven property owners would pay 70 percent of the cost, and the city would pay 30 percent. This has been Corcoran’s formula for special assessments for a number of years.

As councilors looked at the bigger picture, they noticed that collector roads could be classified as Minnesota State Aid streets and state aid could be used to partially finance improvements. Trail Haven is a collector road. Treeline and Foxline are neighborhood streets and would not be eligible for use of state aid funds.

Corcoran has 27 miles of gravel collector roads and 11 miles of gravel neighborhood streets. The council decided that Corcoran needs a policy for financing the paving of collector roads. This policy would be different from the policy used for paving of neighborhood streets and could include a combination of money from bond sales, special assessments and state aid. City Administrator Brad Martens will bring a collector road proposal to a future meeting.

At the meeting, the council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.

 

POLICE CHIEF TO RETIRE

Director of Public Safety Sean Gormley announced that he plans to retire effective Nov. 28. He has served in that position for eight and a half years.

Mayor Guenthner said the council would accept his resignation with “substantial regret.” Guenthner called Gormley “a fantastic asset to the city” and “an integral part of the city moving forward.”

 

DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENTS

The city council directed the city engineers to do a feasibility study for improvements to downtown Corcoran involving streets and water and sewer infrastructure. Estimated cost for the project is $2,293,000, with approximately 50 percent to be paid out of the tax increment financing fund. The remaining amount would be assessed to benefitting properties.

City Engineer Kent Torve spelled out a time line under which construction would begin on June 1 and be substantially complete by Nov. 30, 2015. Properties would be required to connect by Nov. 30, 2016.

Torve asked the council whether it wanted the “Y” intersection of County Roads 10 and 50 to be included in the project. This would affect decisions about where to put the sanitary sewer lift stations. Answers will become more clear once Corcoran learns about the fate of the Peachtree single family residential development which is proposed for the area north of County Road 10.

POSSIBLE PARK PURCHASE

Councilors learned that Corcoran could expand its usable athletic space by 2018 via the purchase of the Roehlke property located near the intersection of County Roads 19 and 10. The property surrounds the city’s new public works facility.

Corcoran has a purchase agreement that has three options for the city buying the property in 2017. Purchase prices range from $520,000 to $598,000. City Administrator Martens said Corcoran would have to borrow money to fund a purchase because the park dedication fund is not capable of doing so.

Corcoran’s comprehensive plan does not show a park at the Roehlke location, but the plan does show possible locations for parks elsewhere. City councilors wanted to know how a park on the Roehlke property would fit into the city’s overall park picture. The council directed Martens to bring back a park plan to help in making decisions about the Roehlke purchase.

SCOREBOARD

The City Council approved up to $14,000 of park dedication funds for the installation of an electronic scoreboard at Snyder Field at Corcoran City Park. The Corcoran Athletic Association has raised $9,800 for the scoreboard, which will cost $20,145 overall.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com

 

 

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