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City Ravine Parkway project moves ahead

The eastern leg of Ravine Parkway, between Jamaica Avenue and Keats Avenue, will be under construction starting this spring. Courtesy of the city of Cottage Grove

The Ravine Parkway, a project 15 years in the making, is one step closer to reality despite residents opposing the construction set to mark a new stage in Cottage Grove development.

Ravine Parkway, in what's known as the Upper Ravine District, is set to become a major artery for several new and upcoming residential developments.

This summer, construction will be completed for a section from Jamaica Avenue to Keats Avenue. Another phase from Hinton Avenue to Idsen Avenue will be constructed in 2019.

The two-lane roadway will be constructed with turn lanes, trails, lighting and landscaping, and water and sewer utilities will be run in the area alongside the project.

The road is "a key backbone" to the East Ravine master plan that was originally created about 15 years ago, Community Development Director Jennifer Levitt said.

Without the roadway, the project would fall apart.

"We wouldn't be able to facilitate development of the land in that area without these improvements," Levitt said.

Military Road

The roadway is designed with one-way sections bordering a landscaped portion in the middle.

"I think our vision for East Ravine is to create a different feel in that part of the community, and that's why we wanted to go that route," Mayor Myron Bailey said.

The landscaped section intersects Military Road, cutting the sides off from each other.

Residents spoke against construction of the Ravine Parkway at the meeting, in part due to the fact that Military will be bisected by it.

Robert McHattie, who owns land near the roadway, spoke against its construction at the meeting.

"We also are taking Military Road, which has a big historical significance, we're taking that and we're making it so we can't use it anymore," McHattie said. "Military Road is the main way in and out of our land ... you have to go some convoluted way that doesn't even exist yet to get onto the parkway."

Levitt said that as development continues in that area, alternative access points will be constructed to make up for Military, especially to the southeast of Ravine Parkway.

"As pending development starts to occur on the property (and) ... as Joliet (Avenue) would extend northward, the need for Military would go away entirely," she said.

Due to the change, Military Road will be turned back to city control, and Jamaica Avenue will go to Washington County. Eventually, Military Road will become mostly a trail corridor.

Costs

The city anticipates construction to start early spring, with a fall completion time.

Total construction costs, from Hinton to Keats, will cost about $13 million. The two portions to be constructed in 2018 and 2019 will be about $9.

The middle phase — which will cost about $4 million — will be constructed later as development demands it.

The current assessment cost per acre is just over $9,000. The assessment hearing will likely be held in fall 2019, after both portions are complete. Half of the total project cost is proposed to be paid by through assessments.

The assessments can be deferred until time of development, instead paid at time of construction.

"If they want to stay on their property, and it's not subdivided or platted, they don't have to pay," Levitt said. "So in essence the city is covering those costs, and forwarding those costs to the time of development."

The city council voted 4-0, with Dave Thiede absent, to order the project. The city will ask for construction bids at the March 7 council meeting.

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