2020 is FINALLY over, and none too soon. Here’s to hoping the world can get a handle on this COVID pandemic, and society can evolve into some sense of normalcy. Condolences to those that have been impacted or experienced personal, professional and economic losses. I used to roll my eyes when my grandparents would say “never thought I’d live long enough to see something like that,” but now? I get it, truer words were never spoken.

Looking ahead into 2021, several projects will provide opportunity for growth and development in the city and greater Zimmerman community. As in past years, common themes will continue to be transportation improvements and residential growth, but with a twist.

Sherburne County received $2 million from the state in the bonding bill to provide resources to study and design an interchange at the TH 169 and CSAH 4 intersection. The county will be the lead agency in the design and the city looks forward to a collaborative effort to design a “functional for the community” interchange. One that should not only efficiently and safely move TH 169 and CSAH 4 traffic, but should also create an inviting access into the community for residents, visitors, existing businesses and future commercial development

A corridor study for CSAH 4 or Fremont Avenue was commissioned by the county in 2020 and will be adopted in early 2021. Traffic engineers with Bolton & Menk developed the corridor study in collaboration with Sherburne County Public Works and city staff to address traffic and pedestrian safety on CSAH 4, from County Road 46 eastward to TH 169. Traffic counts continue to increase on CSAH 4 due to continued residential growth and development within the city and surrounding townships. Intersection and pedestrian safety improvements are the focus of the study, which will likely recommend reconstruction of some high-traffic intersections and construction of pedestrian walkways along the corridor.

Local infrastructure projects are expected to continue in 2021, including annual street preservation measures of crack filling, and chip and fog seal to improve the driving surface and extending useful life. The design phase for reconstruction of the streets and utilities lying east of TH 169 around Lake Fremont will continue, with a first phase of construction considered for 2023. This planning process is also impacted by potential TH 169 interchange designs.

While single-family residential construction is expected to continue, 2021 will see the construction of several multiple family structures, including market rate apartments and townhomes. PSD, LLC, developer “The Depot on Main” apartment building, has been issued a permit for a 79-unit apartment building north of The Bank of Elk River. PSD will also be a partner in a 3-story 65-unit senior assisted living and memory care building which is expected to begin construction in March 2021. Staff also expects to process development applications for additional townhome units in the South Side Villas development, and an additional market rate apartment complex.

And, saving the best for last, in early 2021 the Zimmerman/Livonia Fire Department will relocate to a new fire hall on CSAH 4 at 136th Street! This new facility will better accommodate the needs of a growing department, community, and to ensure the highest level of service and public safety. The Fire District will also open a new event center adjacent to the fire hall, with a capacity of 300+ persons. Reservations will be accepted soon so plan ahead! The fire hall and event center projects were financed by the City of Zimmerman and Livonia Township, partners in the Zimmerman/Livonia Fire District.

Congratulations to Mayor Nick Stay and Council Member Jay Whiting on re-election, welcome to new Council Member Mike Dahl, and thank you to Sheldon Shepard for your service on City Council! — Randy Piasecki, Zimmerman city administrator

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