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County’s capital plan puts focus on roads, parks

Washington County’s five-year capital improvement funding plan was released last week, showing more than half of the money going toward roads and bridges. County officials reviewed the $139.5 million plan in an Oct. 15 workshop, where they learned that $37.5 million will come from bond proceeds in 2015.

The plan includes funding for technology upgrades with investments in WiFi and new cloud-based technology, historic courthouse remodeling, updates to the Lake Elmo Park Reserve and road improvements in Afton, Woodbury and Cottage Grove.

A large chunk of money is budgeted for public works with more than 40 projects across the department planned for 2014 through 2018.

For Woodbury, the plan is budgeting $1.2 million for safety management of Bailey Road and its connection to Interstate 494 and the rest of the southeast metro. County Engineer Wayne Sandberg said engineers will also look at Bailey Road’s connection to Military Road as part of the 2018 plan.

Also included in the Capital Improvement Plan is a $7.05 million construction project to improve County Highway 21 in downtown Afton.

Sandberg said the county plans to upgrade utilities as part of this project.

“It’ll be a large scale project and this will be a large component of it,” he said.

County officials will adopt the plan at an upcoming public hearing. The County Board was welcoming of projects that emphasize economic development in the area.

“The CIP puts a real focus on roads and bridges and parks,” Commissioner Fran Miron said. “Many of these improvements will enhance opportunity for economic development.”

About $3.3 million will go toward Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park renovations, according to the report now published on the county’s website.

Sandberg said the park is underdeveloped and is in need of major upgrades to improve its visibility.

The county plans to improve the park’s play structure and access from the road as well as remodel the interior of the facility.

Cottage Grove will see another share of the Capital Improvement Plan in upgrades to 70th Street to be funded in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Another $3.3 million is planned for that project.

Sandberg said the county is also setting aside $1.5 million to make improvements in the County Road 19 and Highway 61 interchange in Cottage Grove come 2017.

The money would pay for a study to figure out what exactly the improvements should be, especially since 3M is “a key stakeholder in this area,” Sandberg said.

A a detailed list of all the projects and funding sources is available on the county's website.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.