What began as a "diet plan" project for northern Sheyenne Street has turned into a full reconstruction of Sheyenne from Main Avenue to nearly Sixth Avenue south.

At the City Comission meeting Monday, June 15, City Engineer Dustin Scott said the city initially looked at narrowing Sheyenne Street in that area and expanding the sidewalks and parking as part of a grant application for Gov. Doug Burgum's Mainstreet program.

Construction would have started this year, but as the city evaluated its core infrastructure needs, officials found that the city would likely need to reconstruct the street in that area.

"We don't want to spend $3 to $4 million on the surface and leave full asbestos pipes in the ground and inadequate drainage there," Scott said. "So it has turned into a full reconstruction from Main Avenue to just beyond Sixth Street."

Scott said the total cost of the project would be roughly $6.7 million, which would include planning and construction costs.

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The city received a $2.4 million grant from the state as part of its Mainstreet program, which would help pay for the reconstruction of the road as part of West Fargo's downtown area.

"We're going to do a combination [of funding]," City Administrator Tina Fisk said.

The city would use about $1.4 million in sales tax money and $1 million of water revenue and sewer bond funds. It would then use $1.8 million in special assessments to cover the costs.

"The funding information is preliminary and estimated. The dollar amounts are a high level cost," Scott said Monday.

Scott asked the commission to approve an improvement district for the project that would include properties from Main Avenue to Seventh Avenue and from Sheyenne River to Drain 45 to the east.

Commissioner Mark Simmons expressed his concern for multiple assessments on the same property owners.

"How many times will these very same people get nailed. We need to look ahead," he said.

But as Commissioner Brad Olson pointed out, some residents are already being assessed in multiple ways.

"There will be a time there will be multiple assessments in certain areas because the core infrastructure really needs to be replaced," he said.

Commissioners approved creating an assessment district for the water and sewer portions of the project Monday.

In other city business:

The commission agreed to a plan that will improve its aging infrastructure over the next 10 years while it continues to keep up with a fast growing population.

City Engineer Dustin Scott found the city has about $75 million in projects in the core areas of the city such as water, sewer, storm mains and potential buildings

The commission unanimously approved its core infrastructure plan, which identifies needed projects, at its June 15 meeting. The approval does not mean any project is authorized. Each project will be authorized individually by the city commission.

"All projects will follow standard practices for authorization, " Scott said. "You're adopting the strategies, the process and the guidelines that will be used."

A link to the plan can be found on the city's website.