Archived Story

2011 funding may save money for Phelps project

Published 1:51pm Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Phelps Mill bridge repair could be moved up from 2012 to 2011, at a savings to county taxpayers, thanks to availability of dollars thought the Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant project. Otter Tail County is hopeful that $210,850 of those funds could be diverted to the Phelps Mill project.

The Phelps Mill bridge was closed to traffic in 1999 due to deterioration. The county took over ownership of the bridge in 2001 at Maine Township’s request, due to its historic nature and relationship to the county-owned Phelps Mill Park.

After repairs are  made, the bridge at Phelps Mill will remain open only to pedestrians, said County Engineer Rick West to members of the county board on Tuesday.

“Under the current timeline, to meet the 2012 deadlines, most of the design work and design cost would be incurred in 2011,” said West, “thus moving the project ahead has a less significant impact. Additionally, the project could still potentially be bid late in 2011 for

actual construction in 2012.”

The county, through its Capital Project Program, has $72,000 earmarked for this project through the 2011 budget year. Some preliminary engineering was completed in 2008 to prepare a better cost estimate for the proposed work.

County board chairperson Roger Froemming and other board members wholeheartedly supported the efforts of West to secure the enhancement money. “Phelps Mill is our only county park,” said Froemming. “It’s used not only during the annual Phelps Mill Festival, but at many other times of the year as well.”

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