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Cypress Drive and Douglas Fir Drive 2023 project moves forward

The feasibility report for the 2023 Cypress Drive and Douglas Fir Drive improvements project brings a total estimated project cost of $4,212,290.

A field with a vehicle trail continues through the woods where Cypress Drive ends at the Hinckley Road intersection in Baxter.
A field with a vehicle trail continues through the woods where Cypress Drive ends at the Hinckley Road intersection in Baxter. Plans call for an extension of Cypress Drive to connect to Highland Scenic Drive to the south.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — Last studied in 2019, the Baxter City Council is once again looking at the feasibility report for the 2023 Cypress Drive and Douglas Fir Drive improvement projects.

With a total estimated project cost of $4,212,290, Widseth consulting engineer Aric Welch presented the project to the council at an April 19 workshop and explained the proposed improvements would have $2,189,120 assessed to property owners, with the city covering $1,368,170 of the costs. The city also has $250,570 being assessed to city-owned property. Crow Wing County will contribute $655,000 for a roundabout development.

The city is also considering approval of the Campbell Development Pinehurst Apartments, consisting of five apartment buildings with about 50 units each along Hastings Road and Cypress Drive. Construction of the apartment complex would rely on the construction of the Cypress Drive extension as the road would be needed prior to completion of the complex.

A map showing where apartment buildings would go along with the Cypress Drive connection.
A map shows the proposed apartment development and road extension south of Hinckley Road in Baxter.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

The road project on Cypress Drive, from Hinckley Road to 350-feet south of College Road, would include a full-depth reclamation, curb and gutter replacement, new trail construction and existing parking lot modifications.

The estimated total for this section of the project is $731,040 — $540,380 for the roadway, $44,490 for 50% of the Tee Hive parking lot and $146,170 for the trail.

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The 2,249 feet of assessed property on Cypress Drive, from Hinckley Road to College Road, has an estimated cost per foot of about $249.78 for the roadway reconstruction project. The city would assume all costs of roadway with a width of over 44 feet, the trail improvements and the cost associated with city-owned frontage.

Also on Cypress Drive, from Highland Scenic Road to Hinckley Road, and Douglas Fir Drive, 340-feet south of Hinckley Road to Hinckley Road, would include a new roadway, trail, storm sewer, sanitary sewer and a water distribution system construction.

The estimated total for this section of the project is $1,655,015 — $619,705 for the roadway, $44,490 for 50% of the Tee Hive parking lot, $79,805 for the trail, $571,300 for the storm sewer, $125,560 for sanitary sewer and $214,155 for the water.

The road sign for the intersection of Douglas Fir Drive and Hinckley Road and a thick band of grown trees beyond it.
A sign marks the end of Douglas Fir Drive at the Hinckley Road intersection and a thick stand of trees beyond in the spring of 2022.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

The 2,451 feet of assessed property on Cypress Drive and Douglas Fir Drive would have an estimated cost per foot of about $270.99 for the new roadway construction, $233.09 for stormwater improvements and $87.37 for water improvements. There would be an assessment $69.68 for sanitary sewer improvements assessed to 1,802-feet of frontage with the city assuming all trail improvement costs.

Four existing Highland Scenic apartments, next to the future connection between Cypress Drive and Highland Scenic Drive, would receive a sanitary sewer extension with an estimated project total of $104,685.

The sanitary sewer extension being installed at the existing Highland Scenic apartments would be assessed at $20,205 per unit along with a $9,600 charge at the time of connection.

A Berrywood Drive trail extension, from the Cypress Drive and Hinckley Road intersection to the Berrywood Park trail construction, has an estimated subtotal of $89,310, with the city assuming all costs associated with this project as the trail provides a citywide benefit.

A new Highland Scenic Road and Cypress Drive intersection, from 620 feet west of Cypress Drive to 430 feet east of Cypress Drive, would include roadway, roundabout intersection, storm sewer and trail construction.

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Assessment map
The roundabout’s construction would be assessable to 4,073,227-feet(in yellow) at a cost of approximately $0.0521 per square foot.
Contributed / City of Baxter

The estimated subtotal for this section of the project would be $1,632,240 — $1,221,885 for the roadway, $128,010 for the trail and $282,345 for the storm sewer.

Crow Wing County would also enter into an agreement to cover costs associated with the Highland Scenic Road and Cypress Drive roundabout.

The county would pay 50% of the roadway and storm sewer construction costs, engineering in the amount of 18% of the roadway and storm sewer costs and 50% of the right-of-way acquisition cost from the city of Brainerd.

The county would not participate in the acquisition costs associated with the property in the northwest corner of the roundabout.

Assumed city costs would be 75% of roadway trail costs and all trail improvement costs. The remaining 25% of roadway and storm sewer improvements were assessed on a benefitting area basis.

Knollwood residents gathered at city hall for an assessment hearing regarding assessments for the upcoming Knollwood Improvement Project tentatively planned for 2023.

The benefitting area was determined to include properties zoned medium-density residential, high-density residential, office service, public benefit and neighborhood commercial lying east of the approximate midpoint between the future extension of Douglas Fir Drive and Cypress Drive.

Properties located immediately south of the roundabout would be assessed for 50% of the total parcel area because of the amount of undevelopable property lost due to location, the increased setbacks and buffers required next to residential properties.

The roundabout’s construction would be assessable to 4,073,227 feet at a cost of approximately $0.0521 per square foot.

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Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted asked about the height of the median in the roundabout as it relates to pedestrians crossing the roadway.

“On College Road, one of the issues we've had with the pedestrian crosswalks when they're so tight against the middle section of the roundabout, are the sight lines,” Exsted said. “We've gotten a lot of complaints and people obviously call in and say it's a speeding issue. Well, I've driven it myself, I don't think it is so much a speeding issue as it is just a sight line issue.”

Though the council did find the issue concerning, it was recommended to be tabled until the project moves into the design phase.

The feasibility report was accepted and unanimously passed in the consent agenda during Baxter’s April 19 council meeting. The 2023 Cypress Drive and Douglas Fir Drive improvements project is scheduled to have its improvement hearing at 6 p.m. May 26 in Baxter City Hall.

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email tim.speier@brainerddispatch.com .

Related Topics: BAXTER CITY COUNCILBAXTER
Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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