It's kind of a complicated thing, the manner in which federal dollars for street and road work funnel into the City of Crookston and Polk County for improvement projects on streets and roads in both entities' "state aid" road systems.
In a nutshell, some of the latest federal allotment in excess of $700,000 cannot be spent on the construction of the frontage road planned this year in front of Drafts Sports Bar & Grill currently under construction near Crookston Sports Center. But if the city moves that frontage road under the county's state-aid system umbrella, some of the allocation can go toward the project.
What it all adds up to, Public Works Director Pat Kelly explained to city council members at a Ways & Means Committee meeting, is that in order to maximize the federal allocation, a MnDOT engineer has recommended that the city fast-track some street projects originally envisioned for 2014 and do them this year.
As a result, the committee recommended council approval of the addition of overlay projects on Woodland Avenue, Minnesota Street and 3rd Avenue SW to the 2013 street improvement project list. Each street is part of the city's state-aid system, Kelly explained, and would need to be done anyway as part of the state-aid certification process that commences every two years. All of the specifications will now be worked up and assessment projections will be formulated as well for the three additional street projects.
The frontage road will still be built this year as part of the city's regular street project list, Kelly said. If the city doesn't use all of the federal allotment, the funds are made available to other cities in MnDOT's "District 2," he said. But, Widseth Smith Nolting & Associates engineer Rich Clauson said, it's "quite a process" for other cities to try to access some of the funding at the last minute, so most cities balk at trying.
"So you end up having money for us not being used and the district loses it," Clauson said. "That doesn't look good when that happens."
Kelly said the city and county will come up with an agreement that has the city in charge of maintaining the frontage road, even though it's part of the county's state-aid system.