Fridley to improve fencing, landscaping along University Avenue in 2020-2021 | Fridley

Fridley’s University Avenue fencing and landscaping is taking a step forward after the City Council accepted a bid July 13.

The landscaping and fencing project on University Avenue, also known as Highway 47, will occur between 37th Avenue Northeast and 69th Avenue Northeast.

Public Works Director Jim Kosluchar said the project was estimated at about $645,000. The city received two bids and accepted the lower bid from Hoffman & McNamara Co., from Hastings, for about $510,500, which is 20.8% below the estimate.

Hoffman & McNamara Co., previously did landscaping work on the Fridley City Campus. Mayor Scott Lund said he and others weren’t very impressed with Hoffman & McNamara’s landscaping work for the Fridley Civic Center and had concern about using the company again.

MnDOT is providing up to $844,000 in bond funding for the construction project in Fridley and Columbia Heights. Fridley is hoping to increase this amount, but it will require an agreement amendment to increase the project amount. The city is working with MnDOT staff on the process, Kosluchar told the City Council.

The University Avenue landscaping and fencing project is a part of Fridley’s 2019-2024 Capital Investment Plan and is scheduled to run from summer 2020 through early summer 2021, Kosluchar said.

Last year the City Council, staff and residents actively participated in a planning effort to envision and identify improvements along University Avenue in Fridley.

Four workshops were held on Feb 21, March 7, March 21 and April 4 in 2019.

The workshops resulted in a summary report, which was presented to the City Council June 24, 2019. Included in the recommendations were improvements to enhance safety and improve corridor aesthetics, Kosluchar said.

In 2019 city staff discussed plans with MnDOT for removal and replacement of University Avenue’s right-of-way fencing in Fridley, which has fallen into disrepair, according to Kosluchar.

Kosluchar said Fridley is cutting costs by having the city perform in-kind services such as administering project, removing the fence and trees and keeping a segment at Rice Creek that’s largely not seen from University Avenue.

City staff will remove fencing and replace it with a black chain link, while Columbia Heights will use a contractor.

Plans also include enhanced landscaping in Fridley that will be done by Hoffman & McNamara Co. Plantings will include native perennials, ornamental grass and/or small caliper trees, which will be largely located on medians, Kosluchar said.

Fencing is expected to be removed in August and replaced this fall. Landscaping plantings will be done August 2020 through May 2021. Hoffman & McNamara Co.’s deadline for the project is June 30, 2021, but city staff will have more flexibility.

“I think this is another great addition from all the work that was done in the corridor study,” City Council Member Ann Bolkcom said. “I think it can only look better. We’ve had some real ugliness, and I think we heard that loud and clear from a lot of people at the corridor study.”

The City Council unanimously accepted the bid.

Hoffman & McNamara Co., reported it would start as soon as possible after a construction contract is issued. Kosluchar said staff would continue working with MnDOT to allow additional investment of project savings in the corridor.

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