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City goal: add First Street parking before winter

The city of Hudson is aiming to add diagonal parking spaces along First Street before winter.

On July 7, the City Council approved a $19,800 contract with MSA Professional Services to design the project, which is expected to provide a net gain of close to 40 spaces.

MSA, a multi-state engineering firm with an office in St. Paul, submitted the lowest of four bids for the city’s business. The highest bid was $35,900.

The parking spaces will be added to the west side of First Street, adjacent to Lakefront Park and north of Locust Street.

When the council in early June authorized proceeding with the project, Community Development Director Dennis Darnold estimated that 38 parking stalls would be gained.

Darnold reported that 46 spaces could potentially be added in the area of the bath house parking lot, but that up to eight spaces in the parking lot would be lost to accommodate the construction of a retaining wall.

Business owners have been calling for more downtown parking.

In May, a Minneapolis parking engineer estimated that it would cost $4.25 million to build a ramp behind the Public Safety Building on Walnut Street, adding 224 parking spaces. The price didn’t include design and engineering fees.

The council then turned to adding parking spaces on First Street, a remedy it has used to expand parking in the past.

Darnold estimated the cost of the additional First Street parking north of Locust Street at $394,000.

Adding another 10 spaces in the area of the Wisconsin Street intersection would cost $47,400, Darnold estimated, and adding 20 more spaces south of Wisconsin would cost $92,400.

City Engineer Tom Syfko said at the July 7 council meeting that the goal is to start construction by Sept. 8, the Monday after Labor Day. He is hoping for the asphalt to be laid in October, and for the project to be completed by mid-November.

Other action

In other business on July 7, the council:

--Approved an $18,842 bid from Zappa Brothers Excavating to rebuild an outdoor stairway from Pine Street to Second Street that was damaged in the June 21-22, 2013, wind and rain storms. An insurance settlement will cover $16,000 of the expense.

--Renewed for two years a contract with the company that provides billing services for St. Croix Emergency Medical Services. EMS Medical Billing Associates LLC of Milwaukee had requested a five-year contract.

--Authorized City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick to send a letter to Mark Bongers of Final Stretch Inc. notifying him that the permit for the Aug. 9 Gopher to Badger half-marathon footrace will be revoked if the organization doesn’t provide a certificate of insurance showing that it has the coverage required by the city’s large assembly/special event ordinance. The annual race starts in Stillwater and ends in Hudson’s Lakefront Park.

--Agreed to have an ad hoc committee comprised of Public Works Committee Chair Mary Yacoub, Alderperson Jim Webber, Community Development Director Dennis Darnold, Parks and Public Works Director Tom Zeuli and City Engineer Tom Syfko review proposals from five firms that are seeking to be the city’s consulting engineering firm.

--Approved a temporary license for the Hudson Community Foundation to serve beer and wine at a 15th anniversary celebration at The Phipps Center for the Arts on Aug. 21.

--Approved a temporary license for St. Patrick Catholic Church to serve beer and wine at its Fall Festival on Sept. 19-21.

--Heard Mayor Alan Burchill announce that the city Parks Board and the Board of Zoning Appeals each have a vacancy. Burchill said he was accepting nominations for the positions, which he will fill by appointment.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066