Maplewood adopts blueprint for 2016-2020 redevelopment, maintenance needs

A nearly fully-developed city As Maplewood city officials prepare to chip away at the newly adopted 2016-2020 Capital Improvement Plan, population estimates provide insight into the trajectory of the city’s tax base.
A nearly fully-developed city As Maplewood city officials prepare to chip away at the newly adopted 2016-2020 Capital Improvement Plan, population estimates provide insight into the trajectory of the city’s tax base.

A city's capital improvement plan is, literally, where the rubber meets the road.

It's where that street with the potholes that jar your morning commute gets on the list. Where an aging watermain is dug up and replaced before it provides a front-yard fountain. And, in Maplewood, it's where "the Gladstone project" redevelopment is envisioned, with new tweaks each year.

Prior to budget season, city staff prepare an updated five-year Capital Improvement Plan each year. It's not set in stone, especially the portions further out in time, but is a preliminary guide to prioritize maintenance and redevelopment of existing assets, along with plans to develop new ones.

Finance manager Gayle Baumann presented the proposed 2016-2010 CIP to the Maplewood City Council at the July 27 regular meeting, where it was adopted in a unanimous vote.

"For residents, it's an interesting guide to what the city may be funding," Mayor Nora Slawik told the Review, noting plans can still be adjusted as dictated by political, economic and financial realities each year. 

City manager Melinda Coleman reminded council members the CIP is simply a planning tool that will be used to give city staff direction as they draft a proposed budget for 2016.

"This is just a way for us to get a handle on what all the needs are and try and prioritize," she told the Review, adding some will be incorporated in the budget and others will be covered through bonds and other alternative funding sources.

What lies ahead

The 2016-2020 CIP lists $35.2 million in expenditures, down roughly $13 million from the 2015-2019 CIP. That being said, the city still has some pricey projects on the docket. As outlined in the CIP, the six largest projects account for nearly 57 percent of the overall price tag. This list includes:

• $7.76 million for full street reconstruction and significant drainage improvements of Farrell and Ferndale area streets in 2020

• $3.4 million for full street reconstruction of Ferndale and Ivy area streets in 2018

• $2.5 million for watermain replacement and street repair of Pond and Dorland area streets in 2017

• $2.24 million for the city's share of a county-led street reconstruction project planned for 2019 on Rice Street from Larpenteur Avenue to County Road B

• $2 million for the third phase of the Gladstone Area Redevelopment project, which includes the acquisition of property

• $2 million for upgrades to the northernmost fire station at Hazelwood and County Road C, which was built more than 40 years ago

The remaining 57 projects listed in the current CIP address other redevelopment, buildings, equipment, parks and public works needs.

"The hallmark piece the council really pushed for [is] strengthening our redevelopment efforts," Coleman said, noting the Gladstone project as an example. Retooling the former neighborhood hub at Frost and English has been on the city's radar for about two decades now.

In an introductory letter to the CIP, Coleman noted that costs associated with major parks and city building projects have not been included in the CIP document, as staff members are still working out plans for using tax abatement and CIP bonds to cover these expenditures.

Also, projects being financed through the newly instated gas franchise fee are also not included in the report.

Funding for projects included in the current CIP ranges from designated funds —  like the police services fund and the fleet management fund — to a variety of bonds, contributions from the state, MnDOT and Ramsey County, as well as property tax levies.

For more information, including a complete list of projects tentatively scheduled for 2016, view the 2016-2020 Capital Improvement Plan on the city’s website at http://www.ci.maplewood.mn.us/DocumentCenter/View/13130.

Erin Hinrichs can be reached at 651-748-7814 and ehinrichs@lillienews.com. Follow her at twitter.com/EHinrichsNews.

 

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