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Baxter locals hear about proposed Fairview Road widening/trail project

BAXTER -- About 40 Baxter residents turned out Wednesday to learn more about the widening of Fairview Road and new trails proposed to be installed next year.

Scott Hedlund of design firm Short Elliott Hendrickson listens to an audience member during an informational meeting on the proposed Fairview Road and trail improvement project Wednesday. Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch
Scott Hedlund of design firm Short Elliott Hendrickson listens to an audience member during an informational meeting on the proposed Fairview Road and trail improvement project Wednesday. Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER -- About 40 Baxter residents turned out Wednesday to learn more about the widening of Fairview Road and new trails proposed to be installed next year.

At an informational meeting at city hall, Scott Hedlund of design firm Short Elliott Hendrickson as well as city councilors and staff answered attendees' questions and concerns, most of which centered on proposed pedestrian trail improvements from near Memorywood Drive to Oscar Kristofferson Park to Inglewood Drive.

Some residents expressed opposition to the location of the trail, since they felt it would be too close to townhomes and trail users would intrude on their seclusion. Others were worried it would take out trees on their property or that it was too wide.

Mayor Darrel Olson said the city would maintain the trail, in response to a question of who would take care of it.

Baxter Elementary School sits just off Highway 210 along Fairview Road, the service drive running parallel to the highway and between the highway and the school. The city of Baxter is considering expanding sections of Fairview Road that extend east and west of the school from an existing 24 feet to 32 feet of pavement in order to accommodate 5-foot paved bicycle and pedestrian lanes on both sides of the road. On the section adjacent to the school, the road would stay 24 feet wide, but a 10-foot walk/trail would be added behind the new curb on the north side of Fairview by the lift station, and the existing concrete walk along the south side of the school would be widened from 5 to 10 feet.

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Hedlund said the assessments for the Fairview project would differ from the typical assessment amount to residents in that the city would cover all the costs for the south side of the road, since it abuts Highway 210.

The 1.2 miles of proposed new asphalt trail is expected to cost $764,875. The Fairview Road widening is projected to cost $2.05 million for a combined total of $2.8 million. If the road isn't widened but other improvements are kept in the plan, the cost goes down to about $1.9 million.

The city plans to pick up all the trail cost, so there will be no assessments specifically for the trail. It would pay $1.4 million of the estimated road widening costs and $616,697 would come from assessments. The assessment rate is expected to be $70.25 per foot to widen the street and $67.73 per foot using the existing street width.

The pavement on Fairview is deteriorating to varying degrees with standing water appearing at times. The last major construction was completed in 1989-1990.

A preliminary schedule said the city will hold an improvement hearing Jan. 4, and the project would be bid in May. Following an assessment hearing in June, construction would occur July through September.

Dispatch associate editor Renee Richardson contributed to this report.

ZACH KAYSER may be reached at 218-855-5860 or Zach.Kayser@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZWKayser .

Related Topics: BAXTER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
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