Two Harbors City Council members received answers to their questions about the capital improvement plan and the 2021-22 Eighth Street reconstruction project with Lake County at a special council meeting on Friday, Feb. 24.

Councilor Ben Redden wanted to know if 16th Street was considered the worst-rated street according to the city's pavement management rating report, or if another project in the area should take precedence.

Joe Rhein, the city's engineer from Bolton and Menk, said 16th Street is the worst.

Redden also requested information on what it would take to add sidewalks to the project, based on conversations he'd had with constituents. The street is currently considered a rural street with no curbs or sidewalks, but is surrounded by shallow ditches.

To remove the shallow ditches and to install curb, gutter and a storm sewer system would cost about $1.4 million, Rhein said. Including sidewalks would bring the cost to $1.46 million he said.

The council asked Rhein to include the costs for an urban upgrade in the five-year plan, with an option to add sidewalks.

"That way you have an estimate on the costs and can get feedback from the neighborhood before making any big decisions," Rhein said.

Rhein also addressed Councilor Cathy Erickson's concerns about population density within the projects. The council scrapped the 2020 projects following resident complaints of estimated high assessments. Erickson said she didn't want to see that repeated.

"Looking at the population densities for each project, they're really close to streets and avenues in the 2018 and 2020 projects," Rhein said. "We don’t know the costs yet, so no guarantee that the assessments will be the same as in past years, but the density shouldn't be an issue."

No significant changes were made to the street choices in the five-year plan. The streets included remain:

  • Projects on Fourth, Fifth and Sixth avenues to accompany Lake County's reconstruction of Eighth Street from Fourth to Seventh avenues in 2021-22.
  • A project in the Seagog area on 16th Street from Seventh Avenue to the alley north of Ninth Avenue in 2023.
  • A project on Eighth Avenue between Fourth and Sixth streets, following a water main looping project.
  • An alley improvement project yet to be determined; the council plans to present three options at a public open house.

Rhein also presented the council with a letter from the Lake County Highway Department regarding the Eighth Street project. The letter asks for representatives from the council to attend a steering committee meeting about the project on March 5. Design work for the project is expected to take place over the coming months.