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City council focuses on improvement projects

Public improvements dominated the agenda for the Morris City Council on Tuesday.

Council members approved both a engineering and a financial feasibility study for an improvement project on East Second Street from Atlantic Avenue through the University of Minnesota, Morris.

City Manager Blaine Hill explained that this project is next in line in the 5-year capital improvement plan.

The project would include improvements to the storm water, sewer, water, curb, gutter and sidewalk.

Hill said city crews have televised the sewer lines in the are and found tree roots in the system.

"It's time to do the upgrade," he said.

Hill also noted that there is no curb and gutter on one side of the street by the University.

Council member Twig Webster asked if the project could include adding on-street parking from Circle Pines north towards the RFC.

Hill replied that he plans to visit with UMM officials about the project.

The city will work with Widseth, Smith and Nolting to develop cost estimates and plans so that a preliminary assessment hearing could be held in the fall.

Hill also informed the Council that paving could start next week on the parking lots behind businesses along Atlantic Avenue, from Bello Cucina to RiverWood Bank. Hill explained that as part of last year's improvement project, the parking lots had to be re-graded. As a result, the businesses along that stretch requested to have the lots graded and paved.

Hill said the additional cost will be assessed back to the property owners.

The old elementary school property was also on the agenda. Hill asked the council to authorize an asbestos abatement study for the building. Applied Environmental Sciences (AES), Inc., of Minneapolis has offered to prepare a pre-demolition investigation of the building.

Hill said that it's time to start the process to have the school demolished and one of the big unknown costs is asbestos abatement.

Hill said as part of their work, AES would be able to estimate that cost and help the city with plans for removal.

Council members unanimously approved spending $2,700 for the study.