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Surprise cost with highway reconstruction pushes Kasson road extension down the road

Kasson City Council adds park to comprehensive plan; hears of cost increase on utilities project.

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An updated map shows improvements and amenities planned for Lion's Park in Southwest Kasson. The map and plan have been added to the city's comprehensive plan.
Contributed / City of Kasson

KASSON — A job connected to the reconstruction of Minnesota Highway 57 through Kasson has city officials concerned about paying for the extension of 16th Street.

While Highway 57 is being repaved, a series of electric poles need to be moved to accommodate the new roundabout that will be constructed at 16th Street near Kasson-Mantorville High School.

Mayor Chris McKern said the city had hoped to take the opportunity of the roundabout construction to extend 16th Street west from Highway 57 to Dodge County Road 21. However, the funds for extending the road, which the city was already still working to come up with, took a hit when the price of the utilities project nearly tripled.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation had estimated the cost of moving the utility poles at less than $250,000, but now a cost estimate from Xcel Energy lists the price at $601,000.

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Kasson Mayor Chris McKern

"If we would have had the money, we would have put it through all at the same time," McKern said, referring to the extension of 16th Street and the construction of the roundabout, which will happen next summer. "We were already a little short, but we could have tried to figure something out."

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The city is now about $1 million short due to the nearly $400,000 difference in price for the utilities project, said City Engineer Brandon Theobald.

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McKern said the city will now likely have to wait a year or two to construct the extension for 16th Street.

The delay for 16th Street won't hurt future development of the land adjacent to the site to the south. McKern said the developer will need to work with MnDOT to determine where streets will be in the area which extends from about 12th Street to 16th Street.

The city also accepted a new map showing improvements and amenities for development of Lion's Park in Southwest Kasson. The map shows two baseball fields with space for a third if needed.

Other amenities include a splash pad, a skating rink that would be used for inline skating and ice skating, depending on the season, and an archery range.

This coming summer, McKern said, the city will add a parking lot to serve the future ballpark area. The parking lot was prioritized because the city will be repaving the parking lot at the library, so the additional project will get some cost savings.

As for the cost and timeline on other items in the development plan, McKern said items will be done as funding is available.

What could push Lion's Park to the forefront, he added, is the construction of apartments that are being planned north of the park near the water tower. The more housing development in the area, the more Lion’s Park moves “up to the top of the list,” McKern said.

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