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Emily Citizens Voice Complaints Over Highway 6 Road Project

Web posted May 7, 2019
By Bill Monroe, Northland Press Correspondent

(Editor’s Note: The following article was written from the unapproved minutes of a meeting of the Emily City Council held on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 as provided by the City Clerk.)

The Emily City Council heard citizen complaints resulting from the 2018 State Highway 6 road construction project when it met in regular session Tuesday, April 9 in the council chambers. Members present included Mayor Roger Lund and council members Bryce Butcher, Wesley Friesner, Gerhart Hanson, and Bill Spiess. Also present were City Engineer Jeff Ledin, City Clerk Cari Johnson and Deputy Clerk Pam Roden.

Tracy Jones of Emily Meats told the council that the impact of the road project resulted in the submittal of a claim last fall to the city for alleged damages to the Emily Meats’ compressors of over $10,000 from vibrations of the road equipment. The damage claim was forwarded to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), but MnDOT denies it was received. Jones expected the council to follow up on the damage claim. Jones is now working with Anderson Brothers regarding the damage claim. Jones is also working with the ombudsman’s office, an intermediary between business owners and MnDOT, to resolve Emily Meats’ issues with the MnDOT project.

Jones listed the following MnDOT project complaints: flooding at Emily Meats; installation and placement of bollards at Emily Meats; no Emily Meats parking on State Highway 6; sightlines and safety of the State Highway 6 and County Road 1 intersection; Emily Meats’ access to and from State Highway 6 during the project and the reduced size of Emily Meats’ parking lot. Jones also listed the following city complaints: clearing of city sidewalks; no walkway between the city parking lot and the city sidewalk; fairness of city services; no pedestrian crosswalk signs and paving of the east alley. Jones said the highest priority issues for council assistance with MnDOT are the damage claim and flooding at Emily Meats.

During a Public Forum session, Dan Barrett, Log Cabin Bar, stated his agreement with Jones’ issues. He said during the road project, culverts were removed from the east side of the Log Cabin Bar property which caused flooding this year for the Emily Cooperative Telephone Company (ECTC) and the Log Cabin Bar. Barrett said the drainage issue needs to be addressed. Last fall, after the project was completed, Barrett was required to have work done to fix flooding issues on the west side of the Log Cabin Bar. The cost of the work was not reimbursed by MnDOT. Barrett also listed the following issues: clearing of city sidewalks; no storage room for cleared snow for businesses; safety of the State Highway 6 and County Road 1 intersection; placement of bollards; loss of business during construction and treatment of Emily Meats.

City Engineer Jeff Ledin reported on the Road Committee meeting. The city needs to start planning for road maintenance to extend the life of the roads because some roads are over 15 years old. Road maintenance options included overlay, seal coating, and surfacing. Ledin and Scott Hedlun will submit a proposal to the council to complete a survey of the road conditions, work with city staff, present recommended treatments for specific roads, and provide funding options. The survey would assist with budgeting for future road maintenance.

Ledin reported on administration of the city’s Wetland Conservation Act requirements. Joel Asp, submitted an estimate of time for each requirement, such as wetland delineation, boundary, and type; sequencing plan; replacement plan; etc. Asp also submitted estimated fees for the city to charge applicants to cover costs. The planning and zoning administrator will still complete the planning and zoning level activities.

Ledin reported a preconstruction meeting was held with Structural Specialties for replacement of side beams and decking on the Emily Dam Bridge. The work is planned to be completed over three days at the end of May or in June. The beams and decking have been ordered and should be received in four to six weeks. The Structural Specialties representative will coordinate with the city to allow the city maintenance personnel to clean the rust off the steel beams after the decking is removed. The council voted to approve an agreement with Structural Specialties to do the bridge work at a cost of $35,431.

Pavestripe submitted a proposal for pavement striping at the city hall and basketball court for $425. The city hall parking lot and basketball court pavement striping will be inspected. The curbs will be inspected to determine if repainting is necessary after the street sweeping is completed. Repainting was recommended to extend the life of the curb paint. Painting of the curbs was tabled to the May regular council Meeting.

Jason Roos, Parks Commission, reported on the proposed Little Emily Lake City Beach. Roos, Christine Roos, Parks Commission Chair, and Councilmember Butcher attended a Natural Resources Advisory Committee Meeting and requested access to Little Emily Lake tax forfeited land. The Parks Commission also requested an easement for improved access to the parking area. The Natural Resources Advisory Committee granted a conditional use permit to the city for use of the property as a park with a City beach. The property is 34 acres and valued at $197,000. The city will be permitted to use the property with the requirement that the city maintains the park. The requirement also includes the park be closed to ATVs and snowmobiles. Crow Wing County requested the city open the park to the public this summer.

The city will be responsible for removing trees from the parking-area, brushing the property to provide access to the beach, and developing the parking area. The access road to the park is maintained by Crow Wing County three times per year with Class 5 and grading, which the county will continue to do. Any additional work on the access road is the responsibility of the city. The city will work on a solution to maintenance of a road that is not owned by the city. In the future if the city does not maintain the property as a park, the land will revert to the state. The clerk will contact Land Services Supervisor Ryan Simonson and complete the conditional use permit application process. The Parks Commission will provide cost estimates for the required work to develop the park. The council thanked the Parks Commission for its work acquiring the Little Emily Lake City Beach Park property.

The softball team had requested the city purchase two new bleachers for the ballfield. The Parks Commission is researching prices for bleachers but has not made a recommendation. The possible purchase of bleachers was tabled until the May regular council Meeting.

The Parks Commission had recommended purchase of basketball poles and backboards. More research was done, but there was a concern regarding the size of the poles of the cheaper options. More research will be completed.

Maintenance Shop
Councilmember Spiess gave an update on the new maintenance shop project. Nor-Son Construction submitted a potential change order because its engineers determined any building over 5,000 square feet needs a sprinkler system. The shop is planned to be over 7,000 square feet. As an alternative to installing a sprinkler system a demising wall could be constructed along the length of the building. A portion of the demising wall could be constructed from the ceiling to the roof in phase one to prepare for construction of the floor to ceiling portion in phase two. The cost for the phase one portion would be around $32,000. Nor-Son Construction recommended revising the project by moving aprons and bollards on one side of the building from phase one to phase two to provide the necessary funds for construction of the phase one portion of the demising wall. The design plans are in the process of being changed. Approval of the change order was tabled for more information. The council voted to pay Nor-Son a down payment of $172,500 for the project.

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