Council committee approves Kingfield street resurfacing

Two streets that will be part of the Kingfield resurfacing work include 44th Street and Blaisdell Avenue. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

A Minneapolis City Council committee has approved plans to resurface nine Kingfield streets in 2019.

The Transportation and Public Works Committee on Feb. 19 approved the plans, which call for the resurfacing of five miles of streets in the neighborhood. Included in the project are Pleasant, Pillsbury, Wentworth, Blaisdell and First avenues between 40th and 46th streets and 41st, 43rd, 44th and 45th streets between Grand and Stevens avenues.

Neither Nicollet Avenue nor 42nd Street, two higher-capacity arterial streets, will be included in the project.

The project is part of the Public Works Department’s annual neighborhood street resurfacing program. Larry Matsumoto, principal professional engineer in the department’s Transportation Maintenance and Repair Division, said the department is resurfacing 25 miles of streets this year. Projects include the Kingfield streets, East Calhoun Parkway between West Lake and West 36th streets and about 10 streets in Armatage and Kenny.

The Kingfield resurfacing project will include portions of nine streets in the neighborhood. Map courtesy City of Minneapolis
The Kingfield resurfacing project will include portions of nine streets in the neighborhood. Map courtesy City of Minneapolis

The department estimates the 2019 resurfacing work will cost about $7.4 million.

The Kingfield portion will cost about $1.3 million, according to Mike Kennedy, director of the Transportation Maintenance and Repair Division. The city plans on collecting about $961,000 in special assessments from property owners to pay for the project.

The pavement in the Kingfield project area is in fair shape, according to the Public Works Department’s pavement condition index. But the resurfacing will extend the lifecycle of the streets at least 10 years and help defer more expensive repair work in the future, Kennedy said.

The resurfacing work in Kingfield will likely start in April and be wrapped up in May, according to Matsumoto. He said individual streets in the area will be closed for two nonconsecutive days during daytime weekday hours and that the city will inform residents about the closures either through robocalls or no-parking signs.

The city is also working with CenterPoint Energy to give the company the opportunity to replace gas mains, services and gas meters in the area during the project. The utility company could close portions of the street during certain times for its work, Matsumoto said.

The city mailed formal assessment notices to all affected property owners, Matsumoto said. Public Works in mid-February held meeting about the project at Martin Luther King Recreation Center in Kingfield.

At the Feb. 19 Transportation & Public Works Committee meeting, Randy Crowell of Midwest Cycle Supply at 43rd & Nicollet testified against the project. Crowell said he opposes it because of the assessments that have been put on businesses in the area for the last number of years.

Crowell said business at his store is down 50 percent because of the construction on Interstate 35W, noting a significant part of his business comes from people outside the immediate area.

“We’re just trying to make it through,” he said, noting several other instances of the city assessing his business for infrastructure projects.

He said in an interview that his property taxes are up 12 percent.

Crowell said at the hearing it took him two hours to drive down to City Hall and that “every road he drove on” was in worse shape than 43rd Street by his business.

“Nicollet is in worse shape than 43rd Street, but we’re paving these streets on the side,” he said. “It just seems kind of strange to me that that’s the situation.”

He said that he’d rather see the $4,500 he’ll be charged for the project go toward fixing I-35W, on which construction is scheduled to be completed in fall 2021. The highway project is being managed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, not the city.

In response, Kennedy said the resurfacing work would extend the lifecycle of the streets at least 10 years and defer more expensive work in the future. He said Nicollet Avenue is part of the municipal state-aid street system and is programmed for repair at a different time than surrounding residential streets.

He expressed confidence in an interview that residents of the area will appreciate the resurfacing work and asked people for their patience during the project.

The full City Council will vote to approve the project at its next scheduled business meeting, slated for March 1, he said.