STERLING – The city vowed to move quickly on a long list of stormwater sewer projects that must be done to alleviate decades of flooding, and the process is moving on schedule.
In April, voters approved a sales tax referendum with the city's promise that most of the money would be used for the stormwater sewer improvements. To expedite the process, the city went through the bond process, and now has nearly $10 million available to get the work started.
"Since I've been mayor, we've been talking about the need for these projects, but we didn't know where we'd get the money," Mayor Skip Lee said. "When the referendum passed, we could back up the bonds."
The city aims to do eight of 10 of its highest-priority projects next year, but the next step is to get the engineering work done before the 2018 construction season begins.
At its Oct. 16 meeting, the City Council approved engineering agreements with Strand Associates, a Madison, Wisconsin-based firm with which the city is very familiar.
"Strand was involved in the original stormwater sewer plan that was developed in 2004, and also with the updated version that was done in 2011," City Manager Scott Shumard said.
The contract is for four projects, including the Northland Mall area, the city's top priority. Two detention basins will be built west of the mall and south of Lynn Boulevard.
The second project calls for drainage improvements at Miller Road and Second Avenue. A storm sewer interceptor would be built to channel water into an Elkhorn Creek tributary. That project will include a significant amount of road, sidewalk, and curb and gutter work.
The engineering services also include a detention basin project at the Duis Recreation Center on East 23rd Street and drainage upgrades in the Douglas Park neighborhood.
The Douglas Park work includes sewer construction that would extend east from the intersection of Woodside Avenue and Harvey Drive to a new detention basin. Complete street, sidewalk and curb and gutter work is planned on Chestnut Avenue, Douglas Drive, Woodside Avenue and Harvey Drive.
"These are the top four 2018 construction projects, and some of the most expensive," Shumard said. "It will cost about $4.4 million for those four projects."
The most expensive stormwater project could be started next year, but likely would carry over into 2019. That work, estimated at $1.9 million, would include parts of Dillon, Griswold and Woodburn avenues.
The city also is working with other firms on projects in the Sanborn-Five Points intersection, Sinnissippi-Woodlawn and Dillon Avenue areas, but the initial focus is on the work in the new engineering agreement. That contract is for an estimated $178,100, based on hourly fees and other anticipated expenses.
There are several other projects on a secondary list that will be worked on over the next few years. Sales tax revenue will be used to make the bond payments, and the city is looking to bond out for more projects in 4 years. The doubling of the sales tax gives the city an estimated $2.35 million a year for capital projects.
Projects in the Strand contract
• Northland Mall detention basins
• Miller Road and Second Avenue drainage improvements
• Duis Recreation Center detention basin
• Douglas Park neighborhood drainage improvements