Projects and initiatives — the year ahead

The coming year will be an eventful year for the city of Marshall with many projects and initiatives on deck for City Council and staff.

After the successful November 2023 referendum on the new aquatic center that has dedicated sales tax revenue to fund construction, the design process has begun with core staff and City Council representatives. It is anticipated that bid documents will be completed in August and submitted to City Council for their consideration. If bids are accepted, construction will start in October of this year.

Public Works will be replacing South Whitney Street from East College Drive to Jean Avenue. This project consists of reconstruction of the sidewalk, roadways, and utility replacement. All public utilities will be replaced, including water main, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer on South Whitney Street. Other items of work included in this project are pavement removal, aggregate base, bituminous surfacing, sidewalks, curb and gutter, and other minor work. The engineer’s estimate for the construction portion of the project is $2,071,000.00.

In addition, Public Works will be ensuring the final completion of the 3rd and Lyon streets construction project that includes re-construction of the Addison Lot or commonly referred to as the “movie theatre parking lot”.

The Camden Trail realignment at the point where it crosses Lyon County Highway 7, is a proposed project to install a 10′ wide trail on the top of the existing levee and better realign the path to improve visibility and safety of trail users. In addition, to enhance pedestrian being present and increase driver awareness currently at this uncontrolled crossing, pedestrian actuated Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) flashing light signs will be installed to accompany pedestrian warning signs. The project is funded by a MN Department of Transportation Active Transportation Grant.

Rental ordinances are common in cities. In Marshall, over forty percent (40%) of our residents live in rental properties. In January 2023, the city considered a proposed rental ordinance after much deliberation. Council has since directed staff to start the process for the creation of a Rental Committee. The Rental Committee and the City Attorney drafted a registration-based ordinance with a focus on life safety measures such as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are present in rental units as well as an unobtrusive inspection process. It is anticipated that the rental code ordinance will be implemented in the upcoming year.

A new law enacted at the end of the 2023 legislative session legalizes adult-use cannabis in Minnesota and establishes a regulatory framework over the cannabis industry. The City adopted on July 27, 2023, an ordinance to allow the City Council time to study and consider adoption or amendment of reasonable restrictions on the operation or location of commercial businesses related to cannabinoid products, including retail stores in the city of Marshall offering cannabis products, and lower-potency hemp products, for the purpose of protecting the planning process and the health, safety, and welfare of the public. City Council and staff will continue researching our role as it relates to registration, compliance, planning and zoning implications.

The city confirmed the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer in our community in June of 2023. Since this discovery, the city has been receiving calls and emails daily from concerned citizens about options for their ash trees. The city will take a proactive approach to mitigate the spread of Emerald Ash Borer. Through grant funding the city has for every ash tree removed, replaced with two trees that provide tree variety that are less prone to disease. In the upcoming year the city plans on ensuring additional education as well as a residential tree program that includes cost-share in tree removal and replacement of ash trees.

In addition to the aquatic center and ash borer management, the Parks department will have several projects to initiate and complete in 2024. A grant was received from the Minnesota DNR to help construct a new Independence Park bathroom and shelter and construction will begin once the city receives the final contract from the State of Minnesota.

Legion Field is a popular venue for baseball used by several groups including high school, Legion, amateur, and college level ball. Existing amenities are due for an upgrade with the goal to improve restrooms and concessions, improve viewing experiences, replace, and modernize the dugout and upgrade backstop fencing.

To add to our recreation options, an 18 hole-disc golf course was added to Independence Park in 2023. Baskets were placed, and as soon as the weather enables, concrete tee-boxes will be put into place. Due to many donations for both projects, the city can reduce the burden on property taxpayers.

Each of these projects and initiatives will meet community goals of bringing beneficial change and added value to our community. City Council and staff will ensure sound project management of these projects which includes management of personnel, time management so the project is completed on time and fiscal oversight to stay within budget.

— Sharon Hanson is city administrator for the city of Marshall


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