Engineer hears council input on Schiller Street

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council at a special meeting on Aug. 25 gave design guidance to an engineer from the firm overseeing the Schiller Street Corridor project. Steve Thompson of Veenstra and Kimm, Inc. was present to speak to the council about the scope of the project, a follow-up to a recorded presentation he made at the regular monthly meeting on Aug. 10. He noted that the local Great Places Committee and Umbrella Arts group have also reviewed the project and given input.

At Tuesday night's meeting, discussion was held on whether sidewalks should be completely redone or whether to retain parts that are in good shape, and if the latter choice would lead to a "patchwork" effect. Project plans include improvements on Schiller Street on both the east and the west sides of the highway. Decisions on sidewalks will have an impact on other decisions such as crosswalks, curb and gutter, storm sewer issues, etc. Other design considerations include ADA compliancy, sight lines, bump-outs, and sidewalk grades. The council's consensus was to preserve as much current sidewalk as possible. 

New lighting — a major component of the project— was also reviewed, and discussion was held on the location of current light poles and the need for symmetry to accommodate poles for catenary lighting. It was noted that the location of the electric conduit will impact decisions on sidewalks. 

The council also discussed the gateway art design at the corners of the east intersection of Highway 52 and Schiller Street that will feature limestone pillars to welcome drivers turning east from Highway 52 on Schiller and heading to the downtown area. Right-of-way issues and grade issues on the Bender and Pronto corner properties and on the north and south side of the street were noted. 

Project cost

City Manager Denise Schneider noted that the project will utilize funds on hand and will require no borrowing and therefore will not affect property taxes. The city received a $248,000 grant, and she said the balance of the estimated $900,000 project will be funded with money currently in the electric fund, in the capital projects fund, local option tax, and storm water fund.

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