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North Broadway project revs up, again

KAAL-TV
Created: November 18, 2019 10:48 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- This spring, dozens of Rochester business owners and homeowners along North Broadway got special assessment letters from the city, billing them for the street, alley, and sidewalk near their properties. More than 70 people appealed, putting the $19 million project on hold.

For almost 50 years, Ralph Hettig has been selling all things hunting and fishing out of Wild Goose Sports on North Broadway.

“We’ve seen more than one fender-bender where they ran into the other person, particularly in the wintertime when it’s slippery,” Hettig said.

For years, the corridor from Civic Center Drive to the Silver Lake dam has been slated for construction, which was supposed to start this past summer.

“We understood they were going to take out the boulevards, widen the bike trail, I think the bike trail coming down Broadway is a real bad idea. Maybe down the alley, but there are a lot of people that come by here pretty fast,” Hettig said.

After property owners showed up at the city council to voice their concerns, and appeal their assessments, some of which were tens of thousands of dollars, the project came to a halt.

“We took a step back, hit pause, the council tabled that decision,” said Dillon Dombrovski, deputy public works director.

The conversation is now revving up once again.

“If you’ve driven on North Broadway, you understand it’s in rough shape,” said Rochester City Council member Shaun Palmer.

The city’s been able to patch potholes and fill in cracks.

“We’ve done a number of smaller maintenance projects to try to limp it along, but really it’s in need of a full reconstruction at this point,” Dombrovski said.

After hiring a consultant, for the most part, the city’s lowered the price tag property owners will be paying, but it’s left a $1.2 million hole it needs to fill.

“One of the options is that we can move some federal money around. If we move federal money around, that’ll delay the project for one year, because we have to do environmental studies,” Dombrovski said.

That would push the project, and all its improvements, like added bike and bus lanes, back to 2021, which Hettig wouldn’t mind.

“Generally, a lot of people riding bikes by here don’t buy minnows or shotguns,” he said.

On Monday, the city council decided to make a formal decision on the project’s future at an upcoming meeting.

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