Road work will close US-61

Summer project at 250th St. will include turn lanes

Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

Road work on Highway 61 in Wyoming is scheduled for the summer of 2012, and it will bring some short-term headaches to motorists who use the busy state highway.

At its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8, the Wyoming City Council approved the temporary closure of US-61 at 250th Street for up to six weeks to allow for the construction. This is the intersection just north of Maranatha Church on US-61.

Installing turn lanes at this intersection is the project selected for the use of State Cooperative Agreement Funds that will come to the city in 2012.

City Engineer Mark Erichson explained more details of the detour. Residents around Heims Lake will have to detour south to eventually head north. He anticipated no more than 35 days to complete the project but allowing six weeks gives plenty of cushion.

He indicated that there will be a press release about the work and notices to emergency vehicles about the route changes.

The project is on a tight schedule, but Erichson anticipates bids being let by the end of June.

City Administrator Craig Mattson noted that this year there is a primary election on August 14 and the project must be completed by that time. The city polls are located at Maranatha Church.

The council approved the road closure by a vote of 5-0.

Related to this council members unanimously approved a request to Chisago County Regional Rail Authority for some permanent and temporary easements for the US- 61 improvements. This is to give space for the constructions.

New Officer

Officer Samantha Roeder, the city’s new part-time police officer, was sworn in by Police Chief Paul Hoppe at the council meeting Wednesday, Feb. 8. Roeder is a replacement officer.

Her mother, DaNell Prindiville, pinned on her new badge. A contingent of family members and friends attended.

Zoning Action

The council adopted a resolution amending the zoning ordinance, specific to the floodplain district (Article VI- Zoning District Provisions). This establishes regulations which are designed to minimize flood losses with the city.

Fred Weck, zoning administrator, explained that the Federal Emergency Management Authority designates areas as flood plains and that the ordinance regulated what can be done and built within a flood plain. The National Flood Insurance Program will not issue flood insurance to a property unless the flood plain ordinance has been adopted.

Without the designation, no one can purchase flood insurance.

While residents can buy flood insurance even if they do not in a flood plain, but only if the community has a flood plain ordinance, according to Weck. In addition, most mortgage companies require flood insurance and if the loan is through a federal program, residents must buy flood insurance.

FEMA bases its flood plain designations on historic flooding; a base flood or 100 year flood.  Weck said the old Wyoming map was last updated in 1983 and was not very accurate. The map had many amendments, especially in the southwest corner of the city (formerly township land).

Weck said the new map is much better. A process to complete updates began about four years ago. Local officials and watershed districts were consulted and contributed to the updated flood plain maps. The new maps make sense.

A second resolution was also passed which amends Article IV in the same ordinance the same code. This is to replace definitions to conform to the Ordinance 2012-01, Flood Plain District. Both were adopted by unanimous votes.



Other Topics

Turn-out gear for firefighters gets hard use. It is too expensive to replace all at once. Last week, the council authorized the purchase of five sets of replacement gear at a cost of $1,914 per set for a total of $9,572.50.  The vote was 5-0.

Council members accepted the feasibility report for the improvements to Fallbrook Ave. north of 264th Street.  Engineer Erichson made the presentation in January as part of this action a public hearing about the project was scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21, at City Hall.  The vote was unanimous.

Council member Joe Zerwas, liaison with the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewer Commission, attended a recent budget meeting for the organization.  He said there was good news about the budget in that there will be no surcharge on the sewer rates paid by cities in 2012.

Wyoming Area Council for the Arts is in the formative stages. Mayor Eric Peterson announced that the nucleus of the group is meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23 for a brainstorming session.

Area artists and those interested in the arts are invited and encouraged to attend this session to ask questions, offer suggestions, and learn more about how the organization can benefit the city.

The Rush Line bus routes 285 to St. Paul and 288 to Minneapolis continues to gain riders.

Council member Linda Yeager reported that some of the Minneapolis buses are running with standing room only. The number of riders into St. Paul has increased, but staff members want to market the route more. The number of riders will be a determining factor in whether funding will be renewed for another year.

Planned improvements on I-35 are to begin within the next few years and will include construction of a MnPass lane from Little Canada Road to Pennsylvania.  New park-and-rides will be built in Vadnais Heights and Lino Lakes.

Yeager told the council that the Hardwood Creek Trail may be extended further south, if abandoned railroad land can be purchased.  The pedestrian bridge over SW 11th Ave. (CR-83) in Forest Lake is scheduled for completion this year.

With regret council members accepted the resignation of Sandy Berry, deputy clerk; effective February 24. The vote was 5-0 and authorized city staff to pursue options for replacing Berry.

There was a discussion session related to Berry’s resignation, No action was taken. Mattson explained that if there is action later, it will appear as an agenda item at a future meeting.

Other Business

In other business, the council:

•By unanimous vote, approved payment of the bills for Jan. 17 through Feb. 9.

•Approved a resolution designating the mayor, city administrator/clerk, and accountant/bookkeeper as authorized to sign documents as representatives of th