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Bills could deliver $2.67 million for local projects

Companion bills authored by State Rep. Barb Haley and State Sen. Mike Goggin have put Lake City in the running for state bonding money, possibly for the first time.

The bills seek an appropriation of up to $2.67 million to fund “recreational activities, and address storm water mitigation and treatment needs to protect Lake Pepin,” according to the senate bill. “The city may use this appropriation for one or more of the following project elements along the lake front and the Blufflands State Trail: acquire property, and predesign, design, engineer, construct, renovate, furnish, and equip public amenities.”

In a May 14 statement, Haley said that by “providing important funding to communities around the state, bonding dollars can help spur economic growth through the financing of local construction projects, such as roads and bridges and water infrastructure. Over the course of the next year, I look forward to working with Lake City to help secure funding for a beneficial project that will have a positive impact on our community’s residents.”

The bill requires the city to match state funding with non-state sources before grants can be issued.

In May the Lake City City Council voted to submit a list of 11 projects totalling $5.34 million to the legislators for consideration. City staff developed the list in consultation with a council subcommittee made up of Mayor Mark Nichols and Councilmembers Russell Boe and Jason DeVinny.

It includes:

• $150,000 for parking lot improvements at the Lake City Sportsman’s Club

• $450,000 for riverbank restoration and stabilization at Ohuta Park and the Sportsman’s Club

• Recreational and community gathering structures at a cost of $20,000 each

• $100,000 for Roschen Park parking lot reconstruction

• $1.7 million for a 280-foot Roschen Park breakwater

• $150,000 for recreational and athletic facilities near Roschen Park

• $100,000 for Riverwalk expansion from North Park Street to McCahill Park

• $20,000 for a government pier study

• $1.7 million for an Ohuta Park breakwater and dock

• $800,000 to connect Hok-Si-La Park to city water and sewer service

• $150,000 for an engineering study on the multi-use Blufflands State Trail

According to the memo containing the list, many of the cost estimates are “rough” and based on the cost of previous project. All will work to mitigate and treat stormwater to the extent possible.

On Tuesday, Mayor Mark Nichols said he doesn’t expect the bills to be passed so close to the end of the legislative session.

What the bills will do, he said, is alert the house and senate bonding committees to the proposal as they begin to assemble the 2020 bonding bill and possibly convince them to come to Lake City on their summer bonding tours.

He said the city is at the beginning of a communication and marketing effort to convince legislators these projects are worthwhile.

“It’s up to us to get our story out there,” he said.

Calling the bonding process a “long-term strategy,” he said bonding bills are passed typically every two years, and many cities attempt to get funding over multiple sessions.

Some projects never get funded or only receive partial funding.

If the city does receive a state grant, Nichols said the city will have several years to come up with its share of the funding and execute the project.

Nichols said the city has received state and federal funding for projects in the past, but this is the first instance he can think of that the city has sought money through the state bonding process.



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