Street projects underway; bond financing favorable.

In my last column I wrote about the impact of the coronavirus on the stock and bond market. As the stock market dropped, the bond market rose. Because the City was financing a good portion of our current road projects, rising bond prices were not what we wanted to see. But, we had some time. I’m happy to report that bond prices have declined significantly in the last days, giving the City the opportunity to finance these projects at a most favorable rate. Not only that, we will be able to refinance the hospital’s indebtedness and save the hospital over $300,000 over the life of their bond.

Regarding the two road projects, both are off to a good start. Summit Street has seen the completion of the sewer work and water main work will be done in short order. With that the street can be graveled and driven on.

The 12th Avenue project has begun as well. This project will make lots available on 12th Avenue NE, St. Mary’s Street and Elm Street. We already have verbal commitments on several lots abutting these streets. Contact City Manager Bob Elston if you have an interest in one of these lots. This project also features a sidewalk that will run east to west along Home Cemetery and then north and south along 12th Avenue to the Event Center. This sidewalk will allow walking, jogging and biking along the entire NE quadrant of the City, adding to the bike trail system in the NW quadrant. The project will also feature a large holding pond that will allow pond side development.

The Lake Improvement Committee opened the door to changes (filling in) of the east arm of Sleepy Eye Lake some months ago. They met with DNR representatives discussing what might be done about the sedimentation of the east arm and, in turn, Sleepy Eye Lake. Before taking action, the DNR wanted to see a flow study that would identify exactly where the silt, sediment and particulants were coming from. Based on the DNR’s recommendation, meetings have taken place with the Water Resource Center personnel of Minnesota State University, Mankato. They have offered a Flow Study proposal to begin in the fall of 2020 and continue to the fall of 2021. The work they would do would cost about $70,000 and would provide a lot of valuable information on what is entering the east arm of the lake — where it is coming from, and options the City will have for dealing with this challenge. This item will come before the City Council at the May 12 regular Council Meeting.

I’m impressed with the creativity of people who humorously or inspirationally give us perspectives on the corona virus pandemic. While we miss the activity and interaction that took place before the coronavirus, these writers give us inspiration to look at and laugh at as we work through what the virus has brought us.

One such writing propelled us down the road 50 years, to an imaginary conversation between a grandfather and grandson. The grandson said, “Grandpa, that must have been a terribly hard time when you lived through the pandemic.” The grandfather’s reply was. “I don’t remember it as a terrible time. For me it was a special time in my family as we played games, watched movies together, and ate our meals together. We didn’t seem to need to be in a hurry and my parents had time to do things with us. It was not a terrible time, but a special time.”

As we work through this pandemic, may we, too, be able to look back on this time as a special time.