Rush City Council took a closer look at a project aimed at widening East Fourth Street as part of its meeting held virtually on Monday, June 8.

The work on East Fourth Street would start on the south part of the street east of South Alger Street and continue until the street begins to bend to the northeast, meaning the project will cover roughly one city block.

The work is needed to provide street parking on that side of the street. Previous road work causes cars parked on that side of the street to interfere with normal street traffic.

“If we did not add the valley gutter when we made the road wider, that crown and slope would be steeper,” City Engineer Greg Anderson explained. “That means we might have to replace some sidewalk and work to match the driveways [with the edge of the street]. So we’re thinking of adding this slope to run the water into catch basins while making it easier to line up with driveways and sidewalks.”

After council’s May 26 meeting, City Administrator Amy Mell sent the project specifics to Chisago County Engineer Joe Triplett, who pointed out the valley gutter would cause problems with plowing that street, work which is the responsibility of the county.

Triplett indicated the county would not plow anything but the street adjacent to the valley gutter to avoid damaging curbs as well as plowing equipment.

“This is a parking area, so [the valley gutter] would not be our first concern for plowing,” Mell said. “The county would plow county roads, and we would go in later and push snow off this valley gutter.”

Council unanimously moved to begin the bidding process on the work, while promising to look at similar projects in nearby towns to assess other potential pitfalls.

In an unrelated note, Mell said MnDot has indicated that the northbound lane of Interstate 35 construction should be open by the end of June.

COVID-19 cancellations

The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has affected the city’s summer “Shell Series,” a series of free concerts held on the fourth Thursday each month at the band shell located at Dana Avenue City Park.

The May concert has been rescheduled to September, while the concert set for Thursday, June 25, has been postponed. The Rush City Chamber of Commerce, which helps coordinate the program, is working on the July concert set for Thursday, July 23, starting at 6 p.m.

Rockin’ Rush City, a concert planned for Saturday, Aug. 15, starting at noon, currently remains on the schedule.

“At any gathering outside, you see no one is social distancing – people don’t follow that at all,” councilor Mick Louzek said. “I’m leery of this as a result.”

A number of council members agreed, adding that events should proceed with caution to avoid liability for the city.

“If we’re looking for ‘really safe,’ I don’t think really safe is going to be around for a long time,” Mayor Dan Dahlberg said. “Right now we’re trying to determine what the restrictions will be when the event takes place. It doesn’t matter what they are now; it’s what the restrictions will be then.”

Council decided to table potential changes to the program until the meeting of June 22 to see what rules the state puts in place to govern these public concerts.

Planning Commission

Rush City received letters of interest from three residents to fill a vacancy on the city’s Planning Commission.

City Council unanimously selected Gene Bengtson, who has served on the commission in the past, over candidates Ron Sellers and Melody Kuhn.

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