By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Residents on Wednesday flocked to the Ericksen Community Center to learn more about how their property would be affected by the third and final phase of the 19th Avenue North extension.
The project requires the acquisition of all or parts of land from approximately 40 property owners, which will cost $475,000.
During the public meeting Wednesday, those property owners huddled around a large design of the project.
Among them were Don Price, 78, and Bev Miller, 70, who have lived in the 700 block of 19th Avenue North for 10 years and will have part of their property acquired for the project.
They are concerned the project will destroy their quiet neighborhood and ultimately force them out of their home.
“I have to back out of the garage into traffic and I won’t be able to do that,” Price said. “They could go ahead with it, but I don’t want to live there.”
According to Clinton City Engineer Jason Craft, once completed, 6,000 vehicles will travel on 19th Avenue North once it is completed. This number will grow by up to 10,000 vehicles per day by 2030.
“To put this in perspective, 19th Avenue North currently has a traffic count of 3,000 between Second Street and Third Street. Main Avenue between Mill Creek Parkway and 16th Street North West gets about 6,500 vehicles per day, and North 11th Street has about 5,000 vehicles per day,” Craft said.
An item that became apparently disturbing to residents was the amount of truck traffic they believe the extension will bring.
Randy and Cindy Perry, 55 and 51 respectively, built their house on the 1900 block of North Seventh Street 20 years ago because it was a nice quiet neighborhood. They fear this will dramatically change.
“The noise level is going to be a problem,” Randy said. “This really is going to be a noisy messy project.”
“How are they going to tell us we won’t be affected?” Cindy asked.
Randy suggested putting a weight restriction along the road that would limit truck’s ability to travel it.
Craft said it is estimated that approximately two percent of the traffic will be trucks, amounting to 120 a day.
However, he believes it will more likely be only 60 trucks per day based on the other options available such as U.S. 30.
“The ultimate reason for 19th Avenue North was to provide a thoughtful means of transportation between Mill Creek Parkway and the intersection of 67 and 136. This road will provide connectivity through a well-planned collector road, which will hopefully stimulate commercial and residential development throughout the corridor. Though we realize some trucks may need to travel this route, their anticipated presence was not in any way the reason for the advent of this project,” Craft said.
He also encouraged unhappy residents to reach out to their Council members if they would like to see a weight restriction along the road.
The property acquisition will start soon, Craft said, and could take up to a year. After that, construction will begin and could take one to two years to complete. Roughly one mile of concrete from North Second Street to the existing dead end of 19th Avenue Northwest will be constructed and reconstructed as part of phase III.
The project also will include storm and sanitary sewer improvements, traffic signal improvements and the construction of retaining walls. Additionally, the grade will be lowered from as high as 12 percent near the Clinton County Administration building to 8.5 percent.
The $2.5 million to $3 million project will be between 50 percent and 80 percent federally funded.
“We realize the project will have many doubters, most of which closely neighbor the project. We think it is in the best interest of the community as a whole to construct this project, especially for the future of this town. If we are to grow, it starts with infrastructure. Our hope is to look back 50 years from now and see this project as a monumental success. I think we are well on our way,” Craft said.
Not all home and property owners had a negative view of the project. Julie Holland, 45, of the 1800 block of North Seventh Street, will be one of four property owners whose entire land and home will be purchased. Her daughter’s home also will be purchased. Holland’s only concern is that she provides care to her father who lives behind her.
“It really won’t do any good to get mad. I’ll keep an open mind. Hopefully they’re fair in their assessments,” Holland said. “You can’t stand in the way of progress.”