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City enters next phase of SE infrastructure project

A two-year project that will revamp the streets, sidewalks, sewers and water network in southeast Wadena is entering the final design phase.

At a March 11 meeting, the city council agreed to pay the engineering firm Bolton & Menk up to $544,350 to design - and handle the bid process for - the estimated $9.4 million project. The agreement, which also includes up to $14,350 for additional field data collection, calls for final engineering design to end in December. Following a bidding period, construction is scheduled to commence in May 2015 south of Dayton Avenue. The north half of southeast Wadena is expected be completed in 2016.

Phil Martin, Bolton & Menk senior project manager, said he was pleased with the turnout at the February public meeting about the project.

"We got a lot of good comments," he said. "I think there's general support for the project."

But he noted the lively discussion about streets, sidewalks and truck routes.

"That's what we will continue to grind through with the council, the design team and the public," Martin said.

Bolton & Menk plans to hold at least two more public forums during the design phase, likely at a larger venue than the city council chambers.

"In the end," Martin said, "when this is built, this is built and it really is built for the next hundred years."

The council also authorized the company to apply for a couple of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources grants that would help the city widen one mile of the Leaf River Trail and replace a bridge.

In other business, the council unanimously:

• Renewed a Wadena/Hubbard County emergency response unit joint powers agreement.

• Passed a resolution that allows city employees to put part of their deferred compensation into a type of Roth retirement account.

• Approved a 3.2 beer license for the Wadena County Fair Board.

• Recognized Reed Barthel for 20 years of service to the city's electric department.

• Agreed to pay travel expenses for council member Gillette Kempf to attend the Minnesota Public Radio Top Coast Festival