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Engineer reports on City Square Project


January 28, 2020

IRONWOOD — The first draft with architectural renderings of the Downtown City Square Project was presented at the Ironwood City Commission meeting Monday.

Mike Foley, a project manager with Coleman Engineering, said the draft completed last week was the result of stakeholder meetings of local residents, city staff and engineers who all provided input for the project design. The two-phase project has not been finalized but it is close, he said.

“There have been many iterations but this is what is boils down to,” Foley said.

A complete design should be completed by late February, he said. This will allow the city to obtain building permits in early March, in time to bid out contracts for construction to be completed in October, he said.

The park would be located on the southwest corner of Aurora and Lowell streets with a stage located on the Aurora Street side. There are no dimensions for the stage yet but it will be facing the park while also visible to downtown, Foley said.

Still to be determined will be the location and amount of angled pull and perpendicular parking surrounding the park on Aurora and Lowell streets and McLeod Avenue, he said. The proposal for one-way streets is no longer going forward, he said.

The center area of the park would still be open and provides the same space needed to serve as the “Finnish Line” for the annual Sisu cross-country ski race. The park would also have other winter uses such as a skating rink, a gas lit fire pit, and possibly a location for the holiday tree lighting.

The space for food trucks would have electrical power to avoid the need for generators, Foley said. There would also be an electric device charging kiosk, he said.

As a trailhead there would be bike racks and a repair station, a walking loop and benches with lights.

The landscaping divides the park into a large oval and a smaller oval, Foley said. The large oval would be flooded for skating ice in winter and the other for possibly a sledding hill.

The recreation elements also serve as decorative elements with the splash pad and foundations. The design also noted that space is available for an arch or other public art.

One disappointment came after meeting with Xcel Energy last week about the possibility of moving overhead power lines that go through the park space, Foley said. The lines provide “several levels” of residential and industrial power and there isn’t an inexpensive solution to moving the lines, he said.

“We haven’t given up and we are pressing on that, but the initial discussion was not as good as we’d hoped,” he said.

Mayor Annette Burchell suggested that larger plantings would help avoid needing to wait 20 years for full-size trees.

The next step will be in March when city officials meet with the state to finalize the project and get the funding released.

The commission 4-0 approved a recommendation to place the audit report for fiscal year ending June 30 on file. Commissioner Rick Semo was not present with an excused absence.

Paul Linn, city finance director and treasurer, said the audit by Makela, Pollack & Ahonen, P.L.L.C., gave the city an unmodified “clean” opinion on the financial statements and other information included in the audit report.

Commissioner Jim Mildren thanked Linn for his efforts to upgrade fiscal management.

Burchell said she was pleased to hear good remarks about the city’s financial reporting from all levels. She credited Linn’s work with bringing the city’s finances to this level of efficiency.

The commission approved a $9,842 final payment to Ruotsala Construction for completion of the 2018 Water Service Line Replacement Project that was possible with the MDEQ Pilot Drinking Water Community Water Supply Grant Program in the amount of $189,914.

Scott Erickson, city manager, said the service line replacement was the first part of a two-part pilot project. The second phase was Coleman Engineering developing an infrastructure management plan for city water and sewer to include a geographic information system (GIS) design.

“The final document will be available in the next few months,” Erickson said.

In the city manager’s report, Erickson said the city Planning Commission and the City Commission will have a combined meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3 in the Memorial Building auditorium. It will be the second meeting on the topic of the adult use marijuana ordinance with public input welcome.

The Planning Commission will hold its official public hearing on the adult use marijuana ordinance at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb 13 with public comment welcome.

Erickson said SEH (Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.), the firm conducting a water infrastructure review to include the pump station and proposed filtration system, should have its report to include project options and cost estimates ready in May. The city’s spring newsletter will be focused on water, to include the projects and rates, he said.

Pauline Pikka, the city utility billing clerk for nearly 15 years, will be retiring at the end of the week, Erickson said in his report. Wendy Hagstrom was hired as the new clerk and will be starting on Feb. 10, he said.

In other business, Mayor Annette Burchell reappointed Mark Silver to the Ironwood Planning Commission. She also appointed David Andresen as a new member to replace outgoing member Joe Lemke. Both appointments are effective through December 2022.


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