2020 presents many opportunities to continue progress, growth and development in the City and greater Zimmerman community. Common themes have and will continue to be transportation and infrastructure improvements, and residential growth.
Cooperative transportation planning efforts will continue in 2020 and into the future as our greater community grows. The City looks forward to working with our local partners Sherburne County Public Works and Livonia Township as we pursue funding for the design of a “sooner-than-later” interchange at the TH 169 and CSAH 4 intersection. With a pending construction project removing stop lights in Elk River, none of the local partners or community residents look forward to a day when this intersection is the only stoplight between I-94 and Grand Casino Mille Lacs. We are fortunate to have a very knowledgeable and experienced County engineering staff leading this process, supported by a group of dedicated and aggressive local officials.
City staff will continue to collaborate with Sherburne County Public Works to review and potentially improve CSAH 4 or Fremont Avenue as it passes through the City. Intersection and pedestrian safety improvements, including safe routes to schools are priority issues, with the County pursuing funding for these improvements with the full support of the City. Possible new street intersections, driveway accesses, and increased turning functions on CSAH 4 need to be analyzed to both to promote the economic growth of the City and to protect the safety of the traveling public. Traffic counts continue to increase on CSAH 4 as traffic generated by residential growth and development within the City and surrounding townships increases.
Local infrastructure projects will include the 2020 Street and Utility Reconstruction Project, expected to begin in late May. This project will include replacement and reconstruction of city water, sewer, storm sewer and streets/alleys south of CSAH 4, east of CH 45, and west of 2nd Street West. Annual Street Preservation measures will continue with streets/trails being crack filled, and chip and fog sealed to improve the driving surface and extending useful life. Council also approved the initial design phase for reconstruction of the streets and utilities lying east of TH 169 around Lake Fremont. Base survey work, drone flights and televising of sanitary sewer line has already begun in late 2019. This planning process is estimated to be a 3-year process prior to the beginning of construction. This near-future project is also impacted by potential TH 169 interchange designs.
Barring unforeseen changes to the economy, the housing market is expected to continue to grow in the greater community. Many single family subdivisions are nearly built-out and developers will need to begin the platting/development of vacant lands in order to meet lot demands. With the success of “The Depot on Main” 65-unit apartment building in downtown Zimmerman, this may also be a time where the city sees more housing options develop such as patio homes, rental apartments and additional senior options.
The City and Livonia Township are partners in the Zimmerman/Livonia Fire District which operates the fire department. The Fire Board has purchased property and retained an architect to design a new fire hall. It is possible this new facility will be under construction in 2020 to better accommodate the needs of a growing department and to ensure the highest level of service and public safety.
Congratulations to Mayor Nick Stay and Council members Linda Frederick and Josh Bondhus on completing your successful first year in office! — Zimmerman City Administrator Randy Piasecki