The Rush City Council on Feb. 10 agreed to get preliminary cost estimates for possibly improving Fifth Street in the downtown area.
City Administrator Amy Mell said the roadway’s rough condition has been a topic of discussion during the past several years, and she has been receiving questions lately from the public. The roadway particularly took a toll from the dump trucks and other heavy vehicles that were used for the Fourth Street turnback project, she added.
But it’s not just fixing what the eye can see on Fifth Street. The underground water and sewer mains — some dating back to the 1920s — would need to be replaced as well, the council figured.
Councilors also talked about the distance or the number of blocks along Fifth Street that would be addressed. One thought was five blocks to Irving Avenue. City engineer Barry Peters noted the storm sewers, on down to the drainage ditches, are in need of attention, too.
Unlike the turnback project, which received significant funding from the state, the city would be on its own in paying for a Fifth Street improvement project. That means the possibility of assessments on benefiting property owners, but not without a feasibility process.
For now, the council wants an idea of how much a project would cost and to view a couple of scenarios. Still, they all agreed that Fifth Street needs to be fixed.
“If we’re going to do it, we have to do it the right way,” Councilor Bob Oscarson said.
Land deal near airport?
The council kept discussions alive with local resident Tom Meier, who wants to sell his 7.8-acre property, located next to the airport and along County Road 30, at fair market value to the city.
He said he hasn’t been able to sell the property due to its close proximity to the airport. One prospective buyer was a pilot, he noted, but he lost interest due to not being allowed to use a road that connects the properties.
Though the city has found it does not need to acquire the parcel to build a crosswind or extend the airport’s runway to 5,000 feet, Mell said she would talk to the airport engineer about hangar space and other issues to see if the Meier property would indeed be useful.
Meier, who’s owned the property since 1993, said it was appraised at $146,000 two years ago. The buildings on the parcel include a single home dwelling, pole shed and recreational structures.
City Hall will be closed in observance of Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 17.
The Rush City community meeting, “Help Create a Vision for the Future of Rush City,” is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at Chucker’s Bowl and Lounge.