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$175,000 makes a lot - parking lot, that is

Construction on a $175,000 parking lot in the former Robbins Furniture store block in downtown Austin will begin by Aug. 15 and is expected to be completed within a month.

Ulland Brothers, which has an office in Albert Lea, submitted the low bid chosen by the Mower County Board at its meeting on Monday.

Ulland bid $174,700. Rochester Sand and Gravel bid $209,300. The parking lot is just south of the justice center and east of the courthouse at First Street and Second Avenue Northeast. It is expected to have more than 90 stalls.

The work is being done as the justice center continues to be readied for its opening in September. Overall, the justice cener project has a roughly $29 million budget, making it the largest project in Mower County's history.

After the construction of the lot, landscaping will begin and will be headed by Spruce Up Austin. The county is not involved with the landscaping except that it owns the property and has given approval to start the project.


Spruce Up Austin was initially approached by the Downtown Redevelopment Association for financial support with the landscaping project but now will be doing it all.

"We will be the quarterback for this project," said Mike Ruzek, a Spruce Up Board of Directors member. "We have pledged $1,000 toward trees, and we are going to devote volunteer effort and take donations to keep down the cost."

A plan has been sketched out for the landscaping, and Austin's Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry will be in charge of the watering.

"A number of people have emphasized that it will look nice but be low-maintenance," Ruzek said.

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