Downtown Lakeville’s face-lift begins

Workers start day after City Council approves contract

After years of negotiations, Lakeville’s core downtown is getting a makeover.

Work to improve streets and sidewalks, add signs and decorative elements began July 18, just hours after Lakeville City Council members unanimously approved the $2.9 million project by awarding the contract to Pember Companies and authorizing assessments against benefiting property owners at its July 17 meeting.

The project improves Holyoke Avenue from Heritage Drive to County Road 70 and includes removal and replacement of the top layer of asphalt on the street as well as replacement and upgrading of sidewalks.

With the business owners’ input and guidance, the plan includes multiple decorative and informative signs to be installed along Holyoke Avenue, the city’s downtown main street.

Changes will start at the front yard of City Hall, the northern entrance to downtown, where an electronic messaging sign will be installed.

Gateway signs will be located at County Road 50 and Holyoke as well as on Holyoke Avenue and 207th and 210th streets.

Dakota County will install wayfinding signs on both County Road 70 and Cedar Avenue directing people downtown.

Acorn-shaped downtown streetlights will be replaced with lantern-style LED lights, the costs of which are paid through fees collected in utility bills.

The work is planned in stages with the intent to keep Holyoke Avenue and all downtown businesses open with traffic moving both ways downtown during construction, although side-street parking will be disrupted.

Lakeville Public Works Director Chris Petree said there will be areas for additional parking in city-owned lots as the work goes on.

He said their goal is to have the work substantially completed by early October.

The city’s feasibility report estimated the project costs would be $2.3 million, a difference of over a half million from the lowest bid received.

Petree said some costs had been included in the city’s budget but not the feasibility study, including electrical work, improvements to the Arts Center parking lot and some of the sidewalk improvements.

Despite the changes, projected assessments for the work did not change dramatically.

Single-family homes from 202nd Street to 207th Street will be assessed $1,967, about $20 more than the estimate, which Petree attributed to costs for concrete and asphalt.

Commercial properties are assessed on a front foot basis.

Property taxes are expected to fund approximately $1.3 million of the project costs.

Mayor Doug Anderson said it is a good project and thanked the business owners and the Downtown Business Association for working closely with city officials to plan the project.

“We’re looking forward to moving through the project,” Anderson said. “Hopefully we can stay on task and maybe ahead of schedule – I can’t promise that though. Hopefully we’ll move quickly through this so it will be as little of an inconvenience as possible.”