By Rachel Kytonen
The Cambridge City Council received some good news during its meeting Monday, April 16, regarding bids for the 2012 street improvement project.
City Engineer Todd Blank informed the council that a total of six bids were received for the project, with the low bid coming in $700,000 under the engineer’s estimate.
The council awarded the low bid to RL Larson Excavating for a total of $3,925,706. The engineer’s estimate had been $4.6 million.
“It is a very good bidding and bonding climate,” Blank noted. “And the $700,000 savings will be reflected in the tax levy.”
Blank explained RL Larson Excavating has successfully completed similar projects for the city of Cambridge, including street projects in 2009, 2007 and 2001.
The 2012 street improvement project consists of the street, sanitary sewer, water main, storm sewer, sidewalk, and street lighting improvements on S. Dellwood St. from Hwy. 95 to 11th Ave. SW, 11th Ave. S. from East Rum River Drive to S. Garfield St., East Rum River Drive from 11th Ave. SW to 18th Ave. SW, 18th Ave. SW from East Rum River Drive to S. Main St., Scidmore Parkway from 18th Ave. SW to approximately 900 feet south, 13th Ave. SW from S. Dellwood St. to S. Main St., Horseshoe Drive from S. Main St. to S. Main St., Old S. Main St. from 11th Ave. SE to 16th Ave. SE, S. Adams St. from 11th Ave. SE to 16th Ave. SE, 14th Ave. SE from Old S. Main St. to S. Adams St., and Carriage Hills Drive from 11th Ave. SE to S. Adams St.
The project will also include repairing sidewalk from Fern to Main Street along Hwy. 95, and sidewalk installation from the railroad tracks to Davis Street, also along Hwy. 95.
To go along with the street improvement project, the council approved a contract with SEH for construction and engineering services on the project for a cost not to exceed $465,000. Blank noted SEH was $40,000 under its estimate in 2009 for construction services on the 2009 street improvement project.
Eagle Scout project at Sandquist Park
Grant Fauver, a member of the Princeton Boy Scouts, approached the council about a tree planting project at Sandquist Athletic Park.
Fauver explained he needs to complete a community service project to earn his Eagle Scout award, and he’s decided to plant trees at the park to serve as a wind-break for the softball and baseball fields.
Fauver explained he’s met with Tom Smith, from the softball association, as well as Steve Wegwerth, city public works director, to discuss the project.
Smith explained 110 trees will be planted around the fields, and will be planted in a way to block the wind from the existing fields. The trees will arrive as seedlings, and will be water and fertilized as needed.
Fauver said members of his boy scout troop, as well as family and friends from his church, will help him plant the trees. He said the trees have been ordered, and will be planted as soon as they arrive.
By consensus, the council gave Fauver permission to move forward with the project.
Cat and dog limitations in residential neighborhoods
The council spent quite a bit of time discussing how many cats and dogs should be allowed in residential homes in residential neighborhoods.
City Planner Marcia Westover approached the council about an ordinance amendment limiting the number of cats and dogs to four animals per residence.
Westover said the only regulation the city has right now is an ordinance that limits four dogs (over the age of 4 months) per residence.
She explained the city receives complaints regarding the number of animals in an household, particularly when there may be an unhealthy number of dogs and cats in a residence.
“I recently got contacted by someone who said their neighbor has 17 cats living in their household,” Westover said. “The complainant said everything is a litter box to them.”
Council Member Bob Shogren said he feels it’s not the city’s responsibility to tell property owners how many pets they can have in their home.
“If people want to have their pets, let them,” Shogren said.
Council Member Dave Schornstein said it’s not the council’s decision to say how many dogs or cats living in a household is considered unsanitary.
Mayor Marlys Palmer said most of the complaints the city receives are based on legitimate concerns.
City Administrator Lynda Woulfe said odor issues and sanitary issues are concerns for residents.
“When you are living in a city, it’s a different environment,” Woulfe said. “We have smaller lots, and residences that are close to each other.”
Following discussion, the council, by a vote of 3-2, approved an ordinance amendment that limits a total of six dogs and cats per residence, but limits it to no more than four dogs (over the age of 4 months) per residence.
Shogren voted against the motion indicating, “we don’t have any business regulating them.” Mayor Palmer also voted against the ordinance.
In other action the council:
• Voted to deny the proposed rental housing ordinance. Several citizens spoke against the proposed ordinance at the council meeting. With the denial of the ordinance, city staff will no longer inspect the interior of rental units upon complaint basis, unless directed by the courts. However, city staff will continue with exterior code enforcement and complaints and violations.
• Approved a parade permit by the Minnesota Patriot Guard for the Patriot Ride to be held Saturday, June 16 in Cambridge. The parade will be held from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. The route will include Co. Rd. 70 to Second Ave. to Main St. to the Hwy. 65 entrance. The Patriot Guard will have local police assistance, as well as 35 to 40 “road guards” performing traffic detail. The Patriot Guard honors military families and raises funds to assist military families that have loved ones serving on active duty. They also provide support for military funerals.