RED WING — A bid for the construction of the proposed pedestrian bridge to connect the West End District to the Upper Harbor/Bay Point Park was accepted by the City Council on Monday.

The motion passed 5-2, with Council members John Becker and Kim Beise voting against the project.

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City Engineer Jay Owens presented the project and the bids received by the city to the City Council. Owens explained that the city received seven bids for the project. The bid recommended by staff is from Kraemer North America LLC for $390,559, which is 19.6% lower than the city’s estimate for the project.

According to Owens, the city received the maximum amount of federal funding for this project.

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Council President Dean Hove said, “We don’t have to raise taxes to put this in, we’ve already approved the budget, there was no money in next year’s budget for this, we didn’t raise anybody’s taxes to do this.”

As of Monday, the funding gap for the project was $368,880. The council suggested that the remaining costs should be covered by surplus capital project funding.

“I remain a little concerned where the gap is, but the surplus capital project funding is funding that is already appropriated, it was already appropriated for other projects," Council member Evan Brown said.

One of the recurring themes of the night was the potential that this project could have to help small businesses on Old West Main Street. Council Member Becky Norton stated, “This will support those businesses that have been asking for this economic driver.”

She added that the river cruises that will be coming into Red Wing will help to drive visitors to the West End District. Norton concluded, “I just see this bridge as one of those opportunities to leverage our economics and to diversify our economics with all three of those things: our small businesses, outdoor rec, our river cruise passengers.”

Before the council voted on accepting the bid, Mayor Sean Dowse spoke briefly about the project and its potential impact on Red Wing.

“We need a sense of future to make this happen, more than ever in the middle in the darkest hours of a pandemic, our sense of future can pull us through going forward, and I think this the project to do it," Dowse said.