River Falls pursues major water project

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 3, 2015

A nearly half million dollar street and water project is coming to the town of River Falls.

Council members on Tuesday heard from Joe Harmon of David Hicks and Associates who presented a plan to improve local streets and the town’s antiquated water system without significantly increasing the town’s loan payment.

Some $424,000 in work will be done, including work on:

• Covington Street, where the original water lines are still being used. Estimated cost for that portion is $141,000;

• Taylor Road, $25,000;

• Boat Landing Road, $18,000;

• Guy Avenue, $18,000;

• Gantt Road, $48,000;

• Hwy. 84, $160,000;

• Pine Ridge, $3,000; and

• Asphalt Plant Tie-In, $11,000

The original plan was to also include Frances and Sunnyside, but since the cost exceeded the amount the town wanted to pay, Harmon said those two streets were good candidates for Community Development Block Grants since it has a large number of residents on the street.

“Due to the high number of residents on Sunnyside and the age of the water main, engineers believe this would be a potential CDBG project,” he said. “One of the rating criteria for these projects is cost per beneficiary and due to the high density of customers in this area, this cost would be low.”

The town can apply for a CDBG grant in May.

“The scenario includes all projects, but looping Frances and replacing the old water main along Sunnyside,” Harmon said. “The old 2.5 inch main that leaves Covington Street and heads east along Frances Street would still be abandoned and the two houses west of the railroad tracks will be tied to the new water main along Covington Street.”

Using the scenario Harmon provided, construction costs, engineering, inspection, environmental, legal, construction interest puts the project at an estimated $502,000.

The current debt the city has is around $460,000, which brings the estimated total to around $962,000.

“Based on a grant of 45 percent and a loan of 55 percent, the grant and loan and the refinancing would result in a total loan of $736,100,” Harmon said. “Based on the current interest rate of 2.875 percent, the new loan payment would be $31,210 per year, an increase of $1,910 per year from the town’s existing payment of $29,300.”

Harmon said the key to the project is capitalizing on the current interest rate.