Council holds hearing on Maple Ave. project

By Jenna Esala


The February Ottertail City Council meeting opened with a public hearing regarding the improvements to South Maple Avenue and the alley north of the Community Center. 

Bob Schlieman. of Apex Engineering, was present to speak on the planned improvements. 

Improvements to South Maple Avenue, from Trunk Highway 108 to approximately 1st Street South, include reconstructing the street with grading, bituminous pavement, curb and gutter and sidewalk. Improvements to the alley north of the Ottertail Community Center include surfacing with grading, bituminous pavement and gutter.

Schlieman informed the council that the estimated cost of the project is $232,000, noting that he believes this number will be a little low. He also reviewed the city’s assessment policy, which assesses 100 percent of the cost of alley and sidewalk improvements to property owners, as well as 25 percent of street improvements, with the remaining 75 percent being the city’s responsibility.

However, the council decided to use an alternate assessment policy for this project. This plan would assess 25 percent of alley improvements, rather than 100 percent, and would assess for a 20 foot wide street rather than a 36 foot wide street. According to Schlieman, this plan will cause “assessment rates to be drastically reduced.” He explained that about 24 percent of the cost of the project would be assessed with the city cost being about 76 percent.

Schlieman also explained how, according to the city policy, interior parcels are assessed versus corner parcels. He explained that assessable footage shall be the width of the parcel abutting the improvement for rectangular interior parcels. For rectangular corner parcels, the assessable footage shall equal the dimension of the smaller of the two sides (width) and/or one-third of the dimension of the longer two sides (length) and if the length exceeds 150 feet, the entire excess over 150 feet shall be assessed in full.

The estimated project schedule outlines the design to be done in February and March of 2023 with bidding opening in April and construction to begin this summer, keeping the city’s summer events in mind and being respectful of those.

The council approved the ordering of improvement and preparation of plans for South Maple Avenue and the alley north of the Ottertail Community Center.

Also discussed at the February meeting was the fact that this summer, the Bike MS: Ride Across Minnesota is having their ride in the area, with Ottertail serving as its host. The group will come to Ottertail on Sunday, July 23 and begin its bike route Monday, July 24, returning to Ottertail on Friday, July 28. 

Each day, the group will ride from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., with the entire route being up to 300 miles total. This year’s route, while beginning and ending in Ottertail, will cycle through Fergus Falls, Wadena and Long Prairie as well. 

Volunteers are needed for the events within the city as well as at rest stops along the route. The council and city staff expressed excitement for this event and encouraged the community to volunteer or donate as able. 

In other news

• An open house for the fire department is being planned for June 3. This is an opportunity for the public to learn about the department as well as a way to recruit, potential members of the department. Further details will be provided closer to the date of the event.

• The city-wide cleanup is scheduled for June 3 and the household hazardous waste cleanup is scheduled for June 15.