RED WING — A new look for Old West Main Street has been a vision for some time. Work on the actual updating will begin in 2021.

On Monday, the City Council unanimously voted to start the project next year. The report written by City Engineer Jay Owens explains that the project includes “reconstruction of the sanitary sewer and services and water main and services; as well as reconstruction of the streets by removals, storm sewer, grading, aggregate base, bituminous pavement, concrete curb and gutter, concrete sidewalks, boulevard restoration, street lighting and related construction.”

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In total, the project is estimated to cost $4.99 million and will be funded by five different sources: the federal and state governments, the city’s general fund, utility funds and estimated taxes.

Benefitting properties will be assessed after the project is completed. While this will likely affect business owners' taxes, the city plans to delay the assessment to ensure that businesses have time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Currently, the assessment impact would not be seen on the property owner’s tax statement until the year after the project, meaning most Old West Main Street businesses would see a change until 2022. But, the city has the ability to delay the change in tax statements.

“I see no reason why we couldn’t delay that a little bit to give those businesses a runway to recover," Council member Evan Brown said.

Council member Becky Norton said of the project, “It’s going to impact businesses on the west end district no matter what year we do it. My hope is that we can get the project done quickly and continue to support those businesses.”

The city sent a poll about the project and its timing to 25 businesses on Old West Main Street. Owens reported that six respondents replied that they were in favor of the project going forward in 2021 and four respondents supported the project being delayed until 2022.

Owens wrote in his report, “from an engineering standpoint, this project, as proposed, is feasible, cost effective, and necessary. It can best be accomplished by letting competitive bids for the work under one contract in order to complete the work in an orderly and efficient manner. The city, its financial consultant, and the persons assessed will have to determine the economic feasibility of the proposed improvements.”