U gives money for planned street upgrades

Hank Long

A frequently used street in Dinkytown will undergo reconstruction this summer with help from the University.

A Minneapolis City Council committee approved plans Wednesday for the reconstruction of 15th Avenue Southeast in the Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods.

The city estimates the reconstruction project will cost approximately $2.7 million.

The University has volunteered to contribute approximately $200,000 to the project assessment, said University real estate director Sue Weinberg.

Weinberg said the University is exempt from paying taxes for such projects, but has an agreement with the city to help with the costs when possible.

“The city has to ask us to participate in the project, and in this case we did review the budget and were able to identify a source of funding for the $200,000 payment,” she said.

The reconstruction of the road, gutters, curbs and sidewalks along the street will begin in late May or early June, city project engineer Elizabeth Stiffler said.

City workers will make repairs on the street in two phases: from 5th Street Southeast to Rollins Avenue Southeast and from there to Como Avenue Southeast. The total length of the project spans six blocks.

The transportation and public works committee approved the project 5-0 and it will go to the City Council on April 2. Stiffler said the state will also have to approve the project, but said she sees no problems with getting full approval by construction time.

“The street has needed work for a number of years,” said Allan Bernard, legislative aide to Minneapolis City Council member Paul Zerby, 2nd Ward, who represents areas surrounding the Minneapolis campus.

Bernard said the project is part of a citywide project to make sure city streets are repaved on a 30- to 50-year cycle.

During the 16- to 20-week project, 15th Avenue Southeast will be closed for all through traffic, but will remain accessible to all local businesses and residents, according to the project report.

Alternate bus routes will adjust with each phase of the project.

Any other through traffic will be redirected to 10th Avenue Southeast for the duration of the project.

Stiffler said city workers will rip out sidewalks on both sides of the road after they replace the road and gutters along the street. The sidewalks will be replaced one at a time so pedestrians can continue to use the street, she said.

City officials met with community members about the reconstruction project over a year ago, Bernard said.

“(Public works officials) worked through the scheduling of the project with local businesses and addressed any concerns the neighbors had,” he said.

Stiffler said she met with Marcy-Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods about the project and there were no outstanding issues.