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  Friday January 30th, 2015    

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Bike path to cost more than estimate (06/30/2013)
By Chris Rogers

On Monday, the Winona City Council will consider a bid for the replacement of the Lake Park Bike Path. Dunn Blacktop Company, of Winona, made the only bid on the project: $566,000.

That amount is $32,000 over previous estimates of $534,000, but well under a new estimate made by the city engineer early this month. That estimate projected the work would cost $616,000, 13 percent higher than previous figures. The 2013 Capital Improvement Plan is based on that lower figure for the project. The $534,000 figure is years old, said City Engineer Brian DeFrang. Large increases in blacktop costs and design changes to add entrances to the path are responsible for the increased cost estimate.

The majority of the funding for the bike path project is tied to borrowing that has not been approved by the City Council. If the $566,000 contract with Dunn Blacktop is approved, the city staff and the city of Winona Port Authority Commission have expressed plans for the city to borrow more than $320,000 as part of an expected $1.5 million bond to fund renovations at the city airport. Those bonds require city council approval, which has not been received yet. The city plans to use the Port Authority’s special borrowing powers to obtain the funds without voter approval, city staff explained.

Condo zoning

On Monday, the city council will hold a public hearing on changes to the zoning code for the tiny, little-regulated district that surrounds the downtown condominium project. Changes proposed by staff and approved by the Planning Commission would keep density low and square footage per unit high for residential development of the condominium and nearby buildings, as well as require off-street parking for all uses. In 2009, the city established the special zoning district with few rules after Dave McNally announced his intention to build. When the property was acquired by River Bank of La Crosse this spring, which had a potential buyer, city staff scrambled to block the potential for breaking the building up into scores of apartments, and without parking requirements.

Some feared the condominium could become high-density student housing. The new rules would prevent that. Also, by requiring a 1,000-square-foot minimum average apartment size, the new rules would steer residential development in the district toward more affluent residents, city staff said.

East End sidewalk replacement

The city council will also hold a public hearing on proposed sidewalk replacement projects for East Winona, expected to cost $66,630. The city will finance that work, in part, with bonds.



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