Menahga City Council discusses street needs

Menahga Public Works Director Ron Yliniemi discussed a water main project, seal coating, street sweeping and holding pond maintenance at the May 31 meeting.

Menahga water tower
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo

Menahga Public Works Director Ron Yliniemi asked the city council on May 31 how to proceed with a proposed water main project along State Hwy. 87 and Main St. W.

Yliniemi said contractors in Pine River and Detroit Lakes that were interested are “way too busy now.” He wondered if the city engineers at Ulteig Engineers, Inc. should handle the “big process” of getting bids.

Yliniemi explained that the project is complicated by West Central Telephone Association’s fiber optic line in that area, the need for Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) permits and a road detour.

Interim City Administrator Betty Thomsen asked, “Is that something you want to have done this year?”

Mayor Liz Olson replied, “Well, look at the water problems we have. They’re terrible. To me, I’d say that’s pretty important.”


Thomsen recommended using Ulteig to handle bids as a form of protection for the city. “I know it’s more money, but there’s some comfort in having the engineer involved in it, too.”

General consensus was to involve Ulteig.

Seal coating

Yliniemi asked the council about seeking bids for seal coating First St. SE, 12th St. SE and Juniper Ave. Estimated at $50,000, he said the cost was included in this year’s budget.

Council member Durwin Tomperi asked Yliniemi if he follows a road maintenance schedule.

“I’m kinda going by the age of the streets, but how they look now, too,” Yliniemi replied, adding that seal coatings are typically done every five years.

Tomperi asked if there was a historical schedule.

Yliniemi said it isn’t written down. 12th Street’s last coating was a decade ago, he continued, noting some streets have fallen behind schedule so that’s why there’s been an effort to build up city funds for this purpose.

Tomperi urged Yliniemi to start documenting the repairs.


Yliniemi estimated there are 40 city streets.

Tomperi said, “So if we’re doing three, that would be 12 years to cycle through all of them.”

Street sweeping

With the city’s street sweeper needing extensive repairs, the council discussed whether it might be cheaper to contract the service.

Olson was in favor of finding a local mechanic to fix the street sweeper, which was recently retrieved from Ewanika’s Unlimited Repair after sitting unfixed for roughly a year, evidently due to a shortage of parts.

Council member Dan Warmbold commented that contracting a sweeper would be less expensive. It would eliminate city labor, maintenance and insurance, he said.

This spring, the city hired Pro Sweep Inc. of Fargo, at $4,000, to sweep all streets within city limits.

“What are you going to do with that piece of equipment then?” asked Olson. “Just discard it? Nobody is going to want it if it’s not working.”

Holding pond

The council also asked Yliniemi to complete needed maintenance on the city’s holding pond and spillway on Spirit Lake, per a Sept. 13, 2021 motion.


“It’s in really rough shape,” commented Tomperi. “Taxpayers invested a lot of money in that project. I actually went down to take a look at it, and it’s in tough shape.”

Tomperi mentioned the soil should be tested for contaminants as well.

“It looked to me like a lot of cubic yards need to be taken out of there,” Tomperi continued. Roots in the berm will compromise its integrity, he added. “I noticed trees weren’t taken out either.”

The council directed Yliniemi to blend the maintenance into his work schedule.

In related business, Yliniemi reported the following:

  • Because there were so many potholes, the public works department used 30 bags of patch filler this spring.
  • Yliniemi is asking the Minnesota Department of Transportation to paint crosswalks again this year.
  • Thirty new meter readers have arrived. They will replace broken ones. Yliniemi said he has installed five readers, thus far.
  • The city campground opened on May 9, while the city beach opened on May 26.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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