Oak Park Heights plans special assessments for roads

BY JONATHAN YOUNG
STILLWATER GAZETTE

Oak Park Heights plans to charge property owners almost $2 million in special assessments for a street reconstruction project in the next two years. Property owners who have already paid into the city’s street reconstruction fund will see significantly lower assessments than those who haven’t.
According to City Engineer Chris Long, the city plans to reconstruct approximately 5 miles of roadway in four areas of the city.
The first phase of construction, slated for 2014, will involve roads in the eastern part of the city, including sections of 55th through 58th Streets, as well as parts of Peller, Penrose, Olinda and
Olene Avenues.
In 2015 the project will resurface streets in the northeastern part of the city in conjunction with Washington County’s planned work on Paris Avenue. 2015 construction will include sections of 62nd through 65th Streets, as well as parts of Osman, Panama, Paul, Peacan and Peabody Avenues. Some of the streets border
Stillwater properties.
Property owners in affected areas will receive notices in the mail.
Long expects the project to have minimal impact on properties, because it will not widen any streets.
Plans call for the asphalt to be completely ground up and reused. The city will install 6-inch concrete curbs, except in areas where limited street widths require surmountable curbs to accommodate more parking.
No trails or sidewalks will be added.
“The system’s set up pretty well,” Long said.
In addition to the street resurfacing, the city plans to update or replace parts of the water main and storm sewer as needed.
Total costs will be just under $10.8 million, with approximately half going toward street reconstruction and half paying for utility updates.
The city will issue bonds for nearly $2.2 million and will collect special assessments worth about $1.9 million.
The remaining $6.7 million will be paid out of the street reconstruction fund, which the city has built over time.
“Only properties that have paid taxes into the city’s street reconstruction fund shall benefit from it,” Long said. “Tax exempt and Stillwater properties will be assessed (at a higher rate).”
Oak Park Heights residential properties will owe $3,500 a parcel, and commercial properties in the city will pay $37.51 per front foot.
In contrast, affected commercial properties in Stillwater and tax exempt properties will pay $129.85 per front foot.
The Oak Park Heights City Council voted unanimously Oct. 8 to set a public improvements hearing for Nov. 6. A tentative timeline shows the city seeking bids on the project in January, with construction starting in the spring.
Those who want more information can attend a neighborhood meeting 6-7 p.m. tonight at Oak Park Heights City Hall, 14168 Oak Park Blvd. N.

Contact Jonathan Young at jonathan.young@ecm-inc.com

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