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Dickinson officials look at infrastructure projects

It's cleaning day. You're sitting on the floor of a messy house, surveying chores to be done, not knowing where to begin or what project to start first as you try to set up a plan to make the house a neat and tidy home.

Dickinson city officials sat on the proverbial floor and took a hard look at infrastructure projects needed to be completed -- or at least started -- by the next legislative session in 2015 on Thursday morning at the Dickinson Public Library.

"Don't worry about money," Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson said. "We will not have enough money to pay for everything ourselves. We'll have to borrow some money. So the question for us is how much are we willing to borrow?"

The purpose of the meeting was to take a look at all the projects for water, sewer and streets identified in "Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future," the city's comprehensive plan and figure out a way to prioritize each project as it impacts the city.

"My hope was to develop a system, rather than picking and choosing like we've been doing, to give us the policy that you want us to work under on how to achieve which area you want served," City Administrator Shawn Kessel said.

He presented a draft of a prioritization schedule for the next two years to the assemblage, which included city staff and elected officials. Projects affecting health and safety and those mandated in legal proceedings would be completed first.

Projects where a significant amount of funding would be provided by an outside entity would be next, followed by water, sewer and transportation projects that affect a large portion of the city. Projects in occupied portions of the city would follow, then platted but unbuilt areas, followed by unplanned land within city limits and, finally, any projects that can be completed quickly without a large cost to the city.

The Dickinson City Commission has the final say over when projects begin.

Water dominated the discussion, especially the capacity of new water mains going to key areas of the city.

Water mains are planned for 18 inches, KLJ Division Leader Brant Malsam said.

"If we're going to dig a trench and put a pipe in it, let's put the right size pipe, because we'll live with it for a lot of years," Johnson said, questioning whether some mains should be increased to 24-inch pipes.

While much of the development going on off of Exit 59 is north of Interstate 94, it wouldn't be surprising if the land on the other side of the road began to see development as well, Johnson said.

Assistant City Engineer Nathan Peck asked if running a water main along Old Highway 10 would service the south side of I-94, should it be developed.

The city will mostly likely be expected to develop along I-94 between Exit 59 and Exit 56, the soon-to-be-built interstate exchange that will be part of the Dickinson bypass between I-94 and Highway 22, Johnson said.

As for water leaving homes and businesses, the first stage of revamping the city's sewer system is underway, with the construction of the multi-million dollar wastewater reclamation facility well underway. The city broke ground on that project last August.

Roads projects include the extending the paved areas of State Avenue north, 10th Avenue West north, 21st Street West, 30th Avenue West and Empire Road. Most of those projects will be bid on in 2014, with the exception of 10th Avenue West, which will be bid on in the fall.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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