Otsego agrees to expand RiverRider in city

n Agreement part of pact with other communities to   expand the service


by Dawn Fedderson-Poindexter

Contributing writer

The Otsego City Council agreed to expand RiverRider Transportation in the city at their meeting on Oct. 14. The agreement was in conjunction with Albertville, Hanover, and St. Michael, who also agreed to expand River Rider service in their cities for the next three years.

The new agreement will provide service to a south central portion of Otsego. New routes have not yet been finalized. RiverRider already services the northeast part of the city.

Under the agreement, RiverRider agrees to provide ten hours and two days of service a week to the four cities.

The majority of the cost of the service, 85 percent, is provided by State and Federal sources. The remaining cost to the four cities is $4,150 per year. The new coverage area in Otsego represents 20 percent of the total new area, which means Otsego is responsible to pay up to $830 a year.

However, the local costs are offset by the fare revenue. Each ride costs $1.25. 3320 rides are needed per year to fully fund the local portion of the service. So the higher the ridership, the less Otsego has to pay.

RiverRider still needs to accept the terms of the agreement, which it will likely do at its October board meeting. The expanded service is expected to begin in January, 2014.

Also at their meeting, the Council agreed to postpone the trail portion of the 70th Street road construction project. The trail was planned along 70th Street from Martin Farms Avenue to Lambert Lane.

After submitting the project for review, MnDOT indicated that a further noise study would be needed for the trail portion before the project could be given approval. The noise study is expected to take at least a month, which could jeopardize the project’s planned 2014 completion. The Council is planning to look at funding sources and completing the trail after the 70th Street project is completed.

In other matters, the Council approved adding four new signs that direct people to City offices and Prairie Park amenities. Two internally-illuminated signs are planned, one 6’ x 9’ at 95th Street and Nashua Avenue and one 6’ x 5’ at 90th Street and Nashua Avenue. The other two are 3’ x 3’ non-illuminated signs, one each at City Hall and Prairie Center.

The Council felt the new signs were necessary, given recent improvements including the relocation of City Hall and other department offices, remodeling of the Prairie Center, and Prairie Park improvements, including the addition of the soccer complex.

The cost is estimated at $24,765 for the signs, installation, electrical, engineering, and landscaping.