Manson business owners irked over unfinished downtown project

Main Street is expected to be reopened on Friday

Messenger photo by Chad Thompson A road closed sign marks the south end of Main Street in Manson. Main Street is anticipated to reopen Friday.

MANSON — Main Street is anticipated to reopen on Friday, but the project to redesign and reconstruct the city’s downtown district is not a finished product.

Two blocks of Main Street have been closed since the last week of June. The downtown improvements were originally to be completed by the fall.

The project components include reconstruction of street, curb and gutter, sidewalks, replacing water main and water services, replacing storm sewer and intake structures, replacing street lights and the traffic signal, and reconstructing the alley north of 10th Avenue.

Mayor Dave George provided an update on the Downtown Streetscape Improvement Project during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

About 15 people attended the meeting, including multiple business owners.

According to George, temporary sidewalks are to be poured in front of the city’s businesses on Thursday, which will allow Main Street to open.

Temporary lights may also be installed, he said.

“They may get three of the lights working if all goes as planned,” George said. “There would be two on the south block and one on the north block from what I understand. With them saying they can still get the conduit underground prior to us opening Friday, because then they can work on lights all winter. They said they can work all winter.”

The temporary sidewalks will be removed in the spring.

“There are three or four businesses where we are doing a six-foot-wide sidewalk, mainly where the two buildings meet so they can be utilized by both businesses,” George said. “It’s only going to be a four-inch thick slab that they will tear up next spring.”

Jo Grodahl, of Manson, said business owners will be responsible if someone slips and falls.

“They are your customers coming to your place of business,” Grodahl said. “Primarily you are going to be responsible if they fall. If it’s during business hours if they trip and fall, they will go to you first. So if it’s a non-level surface, I would put cones there.”

As part of the project, bump pads have been added for the visually impaired.

The width of the intersections have also been narrowed.

Craig Nieland, of Manson, asked who would be responsible for maintaining the pavers and the bumpouts.

“I sure as heck don’t want to do it,” he said. “Something might go wrong next year or five years from now.”

George indicated the city would be responsible for the maintenance of the pavers and bumpouts.

Nieland and others expressed concern about the narrowness of Main Street and the length of the sidewalks in front of certain businesses.

“These are issues we all have,” he said. “I want my sidewalk just like it was before. We had to pay for our sidewalk. It was a nice sidewalk. Why is my sidewalk wider than it was before? I never had an 11 foot sidewalk, why do I have one now? I always thought the curb was further away from my building and it is.”

George said the length of the sidewalks will vary from 10 feet to 11 feet.

“The engineer didn’t recommend making the street any wider than a normal street is,” George said.

Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc., of Johnston, was hired by the city as the consulting firm for the project. The firm worked with McClure Engineering Co., of Fort Dodge.

Godberson-Smith Construction, of Ida Grove, is the general contractor for the project. K&W Electric, Inc., of Cedar Falls, has been completing electrical work.