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City gives funds to assist marketing efforts during Hwy. 61 reconstruction

The city will contribute $5,000 toward communication efforts for a committee working with local businesses and the community during the Highway 61/Main Street construction project, the Red Wing City Council voted Monday.

Council President Lisa Bayley, who serves on the committee along with Mayor Dan Bender, said they have been looking at other areas that have faced similar major construction and learning from them.

“We’re benefiting from the experience of other communities,” she said.

The committee is exploring ways to communicate with area residents and businesses as well as tourists before, during and after the work, along with as possible programs to help affected businesses and addressing other issues.

Other local monies

The group plans to seek funding for its work from local resources.

“Our goal isn’t to continue to ask the city for funds over and over again,” said Jill Fanslow of Downtown Main Street.

Council member Mike Schultz put forward the motion to approve the funds, with the stipulation that a plan come back within 60 days. The Port Authority Board put a similar requirement on its $5,000 contribution, he said.

No final plan

The council also reviewed the latest plans for the Highway 61/Main Street reconstruction with project manager Aaron Warford of Bolton & Menk at Monday’s meeting and approved the latest layout.

These were not final plans, just the next step formalizing conversations and ideas developed to date, Warford said.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is reviewing the plans as well, he said.

Key changes include closing some access points, some median and turn lane changes and making safer crossings for pedestrians including adding bumpouts.

While the council walked through many specific details of the plans, they are still in progress, Warford said. “I think a lot of these things are still open,” he said.

Warford did say there is some talk of the project extending over more than a year, but the timeline is not finalized yet.

Council members voiced concern about a multi-year project and the impact on downtown, businesses and tourism.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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