Letter: Concerns about Prospect Avenue project
Editor's note: The public hearing for the Prospect Avenue project is scheduled for Thursday, March 5 from 7-8 p.m. at Cloquet City Hall.
I received a notice on the hearing for Prospect Avenue improvements and reconstruction. I am unable to attend the hearing as I am out of state at this time. I have several comments I would like to be read into the record at this meeting.
My first concern is the proposed sidewalk to be located on the south side of Prospect Avenue from 14th Street to 18th Street. It is specified to be a 5-foot wide sidewalk. I have been a resident on Prospect Avenue for 18 plus years. During that time I have observed zero to four pedestrians per day maximum walking along the street during the summer, and virtually none in the winter.
To put a sidewalk let alone a 5-foot wide one along this avenue with the historically low pedestrian traffic is a waste of resources and money. This savings would be fiscally responsible and allow for additional improvements of all the other failing streets in the city.
If it is allowed to be installed, then it should be placed on the north side of the avenue adjacent to the park so people could access the park safely and would not be crossing the street. It also would preserve the limited lawn areas of the homes along this area.
As it is the park has two entrances and a parking area by the ball field, along with access from 14th Street, so again a sidewalk would not be a benefit along this avenue as the only entrance to the park along Prospect Avenue is at the parking lot adjacent to the ball field.
Avenues in the past have not had sidewalks as there are only three or four houses on each block compared to 12-14 homes along streets. The only avenues that have sidewalks are those that border or lead to a commercial area, schools, churches, etc., such as Carlton, Doddridge and Washington avenues. Prospect Avenue dead ends at 2nd Street and in Scanlon.
So in conclusion, I am against the inclusion of sidewalks in this project for these reasons also for the elimination of lawns by the sidewalk and the additional stormwater drainage caused by the sidewalk into the river, which will contribute more pollution.
As for the assessments, I assume we would receive an itemized cost, listing the individual costs per residence. The costs of storm sewers, sanitary sewers and water lines are covered by the .5% sales tax.
Also why is the assessment 40% higher than the 3rd Street reconstruction which was more labor intensive? I can’t believe that there has been a 40% increase in labor and materials in around three years. The current estimated assessment is around 10% of the market value of the homes in this area. The assessment and the loss of green space will, in effect, lower the market value of the homes.
I would also point out that funds from the .5% sales tax are stipulated to be used for parks, engineering and construction of infrastructure improvements, including, but not limited to storm sewer, sanitary sewer and water in areas identified as part of the city’s comprehensive land use plan. See Minnesota Statutes, 2.32 section 645.021, subdivisions 2 and 3.