MAHTOMEDI — As storm waters rise, so does the ire of residents on Dahlia Street, who are wondering when the city will fix drainage issues on their street.
City Engineer John Sachi said at the July 2 City Council meeting that work on CSAH 12 (Stillwater Road) might finish up early, leaving time in 2020 for the city to move up work on the Dahlia Street project it had scheduled for 2021.
Sachi said that the city's plans to work on Dahlia had been stalled since 2017 due to the difficulty in obtaining easements to replace the water system on the south side of the street.
Dahlia Street resident Angela Strantz, who brought up the whole topic during the public comment portion of the meeting, begged to differ.
“When I first bought my house in 2000, the disclaimers made included information that we should expect to be assessed for road improvements within the next year, so the statement that (the delay) has been going on since 2017 is inaccurate,” Strantz said.
She urged the city not to delay long overdue repairs. “My husband, once again, was pumping water out of the street,” she said. “Water covered the street from side to side.”
Sachi agreed that water almost completely enveloped Dahlia Street after the latest round of storms.
The city has a busy slate of roadwork scheduled for 2020, but the Dahlia Street project could be a stand-alone project as it is a mutual state aid road, Sachi said. “WSB would prepare an updated feasibility report to be submitted to council within five months, we could call for a public hearing, have a vote and plan for it to be ready to go for construction season 2020,” he said.
Sachi noted that the city received little cooperation from the four residents on the south side of Dahlia Street to contribute land for an easement. He said the city had sent out letters and received little response.
Strantz said that she took umbrage at the statement that the city had contacted all the residents in the neighborhood and said that she had heard a different version of that story. “I talked to several people, and the neighbor with the pond has categorically denied receiving a letter from the city about road work and easements and so have others. I was supposed to receive a letter from the city, which I never did,” she stated.
Councilman Jeff Ledermann wondered whether city staff had tried to reach out to residents to look at the easements as well as different options. Have residents been in conversations about the problem, he wondered?
Sachi said that if the city had the necessary easements to correct the ponding, the project would be less expensive. If, however, the city were to route stormwater down Warner Road to Wood Street and into the pond at Glendale Park, it would add some $180,000 to $200,000 in extra cost to the project and take a much longer time to complete. All the city needs is one or two people not to cooperate about the easement to find itself in that situation, he noted.
Council members expressed the desire to move ahead and have city engineers prepare the documentation for the project. Ledermann said he agreed that the city needed to look at putting Dahlia Street on the list of future projects and called for city staff to make additional connections and communicate with the residents. “We need a neighborhood meeting before we plow ahead, and we need to make every attempt to explore the easement option,” he said.
“We need to make sure everyone in the neighborhood is (at the neighborhood meeting) to hear and voice their responses,” Councilman Tim Deans said. “I'm not against the project, but I want to make sure the neighborhood supports it.”