On Monday, the Winona City Council voted unanimously to move forward with aspects of three major improvement projects: the $12 million airport improvement project, a $530,000 replacement of the Lake Park bike path, and the $68,000 East End sidewalk replacement. Both the airport and the bike path projects are expected to be funded with roughly $1.5 million in new borrowing by the city of Winona Port Authority. If the bonds are approved by the City Council, the city will levy a new property tax to fund the bond payments.
On Monday, the council approved spending on $168,700 worth of wetland credits for the airport improvement project. The credits, sold by wetland creators, enable the city to meet state laws requiring that wetlands destroyed by development be replaced elsewhere.
The council also called for a feasibility study on the sidewalk replacement project to be completed by city staff and a public hearing on the project later this summer.
The city agreed to hire Lynette Powers, the artist who completed the otter water fountain at the bandshell, to complete another otter drinking fountain to replace an existing stone drinking fountain at the Lake Park Visitorís Center. The council agreed to spend $23,400 on the fountain. Another similar fountain is planned to be placed at Unity Park. The new sculpture fountains are paired with plans to replace the Lake Park bike path. A contract for the bike path has yet to be awarded, but work is expected to be completed by October. City staff members plan to use $110,000 budgeted for repair and extension of the dike bike path, which runs from Levee Park to Riverview Drive, for the Lake Park bike path. The fountains will be installed next spring, city staff members say.
Prior to the votes Monday night, council members had not discussed the funding arrangement for the projects.