RED WING -- The City Council will seek bids for the construction of a pedestrian bridge despite uncertainty about its funding.
The construction of a walking bridge was proposed in March 2015 when a plan for the renewal of Old West Main Street was approved. The plan included the provision of cycling and pedestrian-friendly connections between regions of the city.
Since the inception of a walking bridge, the city has received funding for the project from the state and federal governments. As of Monday, the city had $1,854,448 dedicated to the project, which is estimated to be $935,000 short of the project’s cost.
Though it is possible that the city will not have the needed funding for the pedestrian bridge, council members approved the bid advertisement Monday, Oct. 12, to obtain a better understanding of the total cost for creating the bridge.
“Unless there’s some kind of grant out there for that shortfall, I don’t see this project actually happening. But we do owe it to ourselves to find out for sure what it does actually cost," Council President Dean Hove said.
Council member Evan Brown shared a similar sentiment. He told the council and those watching the meeting, “The preliminary levy has been set. And, as everyone knows, the levy cannot be increased and so, this shortfall, it is what it is. And, I just want to be clear, I am supporting getting bids, but the shortfall, at this point, is not in the levy.”
Currently, the city has a grant proposal before the Legislature. The grant requests $1 million for the update of Old West Main Street. If the grant is not approved, Red Wing would pay for the Old West Main project with funding from the city’s general fund.
Ron Seymour, the city’s capital investment program coordinator, said of the grant, “The money would offset general fund money on the Old West Main project that would free-up some cash that could be diverted to the ped bridge project.”
City staff plan to present any bids that they receive to the council on Monday, Nov. 23.