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City moves ahead with '08 improvements

The Morris City Council on Tuesday heard its first public comments from residents and business owners about planned 2008 street and infrastructure improvements.

The city is planning to replace watermains and service lines, sanitary and storm sewers, curbs, gutters and street surfaces on streets and avenues in the areas of College and Oregon avenues.

The projects are estimated to cost between $2.5 million and $3 million.

The Oregon Avenue project will include improvements on the avenue from 4th Street to 7th Street and will included work on East 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th streets between Oregon and Atlantic avenues.

Work on College Avenue will be between 2nd and 5th streets, and will include Circle Pines.

Most of the comments from property owners centered on the length of the work and how long their businesses would be affected.

The work on College Avenue is expected to begin May 19, after the University of Minnesota, Morris' Commencement exercises. The Oregon Avenue projects are slated to begin July 1. Both projects will be completed in phases to minimize inconvenience.

City Engineer Jay Fier estimated that, based on averages from the last five assessments for street work, that property owners' average share of the costs will be $2,900 for sewer, $3,700 for water, plus costs for curb and gutter, storm sewer and sidewalks for those requiring that type of improvements.

City Manager Blaine Hill said property owners might see lower assessment than in the past because of lowered interest rates and increased competition among contractors.

The City Council heard comments from residents and business owners about the project, and will continue to fine-tune the project and estimates before deciding to call for bids.

See Saturday's Sun Tribune and Web site for a more detailed story on the projects.