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Humboldt accepts grant for bridge

December 19, 2012
By ROBERT WOLF ( , Messenger News

HUMBOLDT - The Humboldt City Council accepted a $1 million grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation to replace the Sumner Avenue Bridge Monday.

The bridge has been deteriorating and a sidewalk portion of the bridge has been closed. The council has been looking at ways to replace or repair the bridge - but funding has been a stumbling block.

In the past, the IDOT has said the bridge was not on its list of priorities because the U.S. Highway 169 bridge over the West Fork of the Des Moines is nearby.

However, on Monday, City Administrator Aaron Burnett said the grant request had been approved.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.5 million, Burnett said.

The grant requires a 20 percent match, but the city will be spending much more than that for the project.

"The city's portion of the bridge replacement cost should be covered by the balance of the local option sales tax revenues and the next year's local option sales tax revenues. This large expenditure will prevent the city from completing any street projects in the next fiscal year, outside of normal street maintenance," he said.

Work is expected to begin after an October 2013 bid letting.

Humboldt Mayor Walter Jensen said he was surprised by the news at work. He was under the impression the city was not even being considered for funding for the bridge.

The council decided to have a sidewalk included in the bridge. A separate pedestrian bridge would be more safe but also more expensive.

In other business the council heard from Mike Worthington, president of the RIVER Development Group Inc. Worthington said the group needed $60,000 for a contractor for preliminary work on a whitewater area on the West Fork of the Des Moines River.

The group is also looking at repairs to the dam, which would improve boating and other recreational activities on the river. However last week he received no commitment from the county Board of Supervisors on the dam portion. Doing both projects together would save money, Worthington said.

Burnett said the city could not be able to come up with significant funds to fund the project. It would probably take a referendum to go out and borrow the money, he said.

At Jensen's suggestion, the council approved taking $10,000 from the hotel-motel tax revenue for the project.

"I think it is important to do what we can do. Obviously we can't do it all," said Councilman John Sleiter.



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