Alley improvements one step closer for Marshall neighborhood

MARSHALL — A group of Marshall residents’ petition for a storm sewer in their alleyway is starting to see some results. On Tuesday evening, members of the Marshall City Council voted unanimously to bring the request to a public hearing later this month.

If the council approves the project, the city could start advertising for construction bids by July 24, and the construction could be underway by September, a feasibility report said.

Council members said they appreciated city staff’s efforts to address the request quickly.

“That neighborhood, I think, was in a hurry to get everything done. And I think by getting it done hopefully this year, I want to applaud engineering and hopefully the contractors, as well,” council member Russ Labat said.

While the estimated $106,993 alley project could be done this year, Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said it would come with a cost for homeowners, in the form of special assessments. City policy is for alley improvements to be assessed, he said.

“We want to make sure the public is aware,” Olson said.

Homeowners from the 100 and 200 blocks of South Whitney and South High streets first petitioned the council back in February, asking for drainage improvements to be built in their shared back alley. Flooding in garages and residential properties along the alley has been a problem for years, residents said.

The residents’ petition called for a storm sewer line and catch basins to be built in the alley, and for the alley to be paved in concrete. The concrete would allow a reverse crown road surface, with the edges of the alley higher than the center, to be built, Olson said. The curved surface would help divert rainwater, he said.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, city council members received a feasibility report on the drainage project. The estimated total cost for the improvements, including engineering costs, came to $106,993.

“Generally, the project is assessed,” Olson said. While the feasibility report said the city would participate in the cost of grading and reshaping the alley, around $75,000 of the project would be assessed to property owners.

Before the city can design the drainage and alley improvements, underground power and communication lines in the alley will need to be located, Olson said.

Council members voted to call for a public hearing on the alley project at the July 23 council meeting.

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