The Langdon City Commission met to conduct business on Monday, July 22. Following their regular meeting, the Commission adjourned to the public information meeting held at the NDSU Langdon Research Extension Center.
By Melissa Anderson
During the regular meeting the Commission heard department updates followed by Andrew Aakre of Moore Engineering giving updates on the progress of work for Phase I and II. Aakre informed the commissioners that the paving of the streets replaced during Phase I has been completed. There is still a final review of the work to be completed, and as a result of the pavement being laid later than planned, there will be liquidated damages of a yet to be determined amount.
Aakre went over the progress of Phase II. Recently, a regrouping meeting was held where the contractor expressed some concern on being able to finish the project on time. It was explained that there had been a few hiccups with the construction crews coming across unknown pipes and concrete structure that had to be addressed, using valuable time and resources.
Langdon city resident Stanley Gendreau addressed the commissionees concerning the state of a property owned by Alex Chaput located near his own. Gendreau expressed his frustration to the Commission about the condition of the property and lack of care or concern exhibited by the property owner. Gendreau stated that despite contacting the owner, the property is left in disrepair, and he considers it to be a hazard to the community.
“That’s terrible, I’m sorry to get upset, but that’s how I feel,”Gendreau said in closing.
The Commission explained that they are working with Chaput on finding a way to have the property taken care of, but that legally, these things take time. The city has contacted the North Dakota Department of Health to inspect the property as a potential health hazard.
The commissioners briefly touched on the damage and clean up required following Dennis Luhmann’s workers putting asphalt down a manhole. The city will not be financially responsible for this nor will the city be responsible for any work done by Luhmann without the city’s review and consent prior to the work being done.
The bids for the city hall renovation were opened. The Commission received two bids, one from a contractor in Fargo and another from Walhalla Building Center. The commissioners accepted the bid from the Walhalla Building Center as it was lower and also more locally involved.
The Commission adjourned and relocated to the LREC for the public meeting seeking input from the community on concerns and suggestions for possible upcoming projects. Aakre reviewed the reasons for the previous and current projects showcasing the failing infrastructure beneath the equally failing city streets.
Over the course of the presentation, Aakre explained the scope of the improvements that will be made to the infrastructure and streets that were in the most advanced stages of failure. During the Phase I project, the focus was on addressing the wastewater lagoon operational challenges, specifically 1, 3, and 4 have been rehabilitated.
The condition of the city’s sewer and water distribution system was discovered following the televising of the systems in 2017. Condition depended on the material of the pipes, and while many of the pipes were cast iron and nearing the end of their life, other pipes were composed of clay or concrete. These pipes showed extensive cracking and misalignment.
The focus of Phase I and II was to address the areas of the city that could not wait to be repaired. The projects will improve the storm sewer drainage on 12th Avenue. The projects will also replace and deepen the sanitary sewer and water mains; reduce the number of sewer lift stations, specifically from 5th Street; and address the common occurrence of freezing where pipes were laid too shallow.
Aakre reviewed the financing options that were pursued to fund these projects. The USDA Rural Development fund has been utilized for the two phases.
“I think this meeting tonight was very informative for the public, and we got really good feedback,” Langdon City Commission Chair Jerry Nowatzki said.
Of the topics raised over the course of Aakre’s presentation, Nowatzki felt that it was good for the public to understand the cost involved with the projects and the need for the work done on the underground infrastructure to be completed before the city tackles the decaying streets.
“One of the biggest hurdles now is just to find money to continue what we would consider to be Phase III and Phase IV,” Nowatzki shared.
For Aakre, the meeting provided valuable feedback on the projects- from comments on sidewalk work on city-owned property that need work to drainage issues.
“It’s good to know that people understand that there are more things that maybe aren’t even street related that are on the agenda,” Aakre said. “ You can’t just tackle everything all at the same time and so sometimes prioritizing things comes into play. The availability of funds to pay for things is a lot of times what drives the priority.”
Looking ahead, Aakre and Moore Engineering will continue to pursue funding for the improvement of Langdon’s infrastructure. There are a number of underground improvements that still need to be made, but it will take some time as funding is pursued. Aakre explained that the best thing residents can do at this time is to share their comments and concerns with the commissioners as they work to decide how best to proceed.