Council considers upgrades to LaBeaux Avenue

by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter

Contributing writer

At the Feb. 25 meeting, the Otsego City Council held a public hearing to hear from residents of a section of LaBeaux Avenue on whether they want the city to go forward with a number of upgrades on their street aimed at alleviating ongoing drainage issues.

A handful of residents attended the meeting to ask questions or express their disapproval of the project proposed to cost the 16 affected homeowners $4,433.75 each. The city would be responsible for $70,940 of the project’s cost and the Otsego Creek Fund would pay for the remaining $43,944.

LaBeaux Avenue, a stretch of gravel road between 75th Street and 80th Street that was constructed in the 1970s, has been experiencing a number of water-related issues in recent years.

Two years ago in the spring, frost boils caused soft spots in the road and made it nearly undriveable. Many residents have also been experiencing standing water in their yards for days, if not longer, after a rainfall.

Casey McShane has lived on LaBeaux Avenue for the last 12 years. He said his water issues got much worse when the Pleasant Creek town home development was built behind him in 2005.

The proposed project would fill in the soft spots under the street, pave the road, clean out 40 years of debris from existing drainage, and add more, larger drainage. The council is expected to make a decision at its next meeting on March 11.

The city currently has about 16 miles of gravel road, which cost more to maintain than paved roads. It is the city’s intention to upgrade those roads over time as need and funds permit. A planned major road upgrade will remove another mile of gravel road on 70th Street.

The project will connect 70th Street all the way from CR 19 to Highway 101. This will include adding a new portion of 70th Street from Martin Farms Avenue to Nadalia Avenue, paving a gravel stretch from Nadalia Avenue to Oakwood Avenue, and upgrading the rest.

“This puts in place a southerly route across the city,” said City Engineer Ron Wagner. “This is key for all those people who live on the west side and go to Rogers High School. Or who need to go to work, especially if they work in Minneapolis. Or just need to get to 101.”

The city’s portion, from CR 19 to Oakwood Avenue, will begin in May or June, 2014 and will be completed by July or August, 2015. It will be funded by an $800,000 federal grant the city received. The remainder of the project, from Oakwood Avenue to Highway 101, will be completed by Wright County with funds from a $1.5 million grant they received. The county is expected to begin construction in 2017.

This summer Wright County will also upgrade the shoulder and striping to create a bypass lane around traffic turning into Otsego Elementary School.

The council also agreed to submit a grant application to the Heritage Preservation Commission to develop signs for seven parks that provide information regarding community and park history.