Water Street parking lot construction begins. What’s it going to look like?

Water St. construction Work has begun on the Water Street parking lot this week, part of the 5th Street and Water Street Parking Lot Improvement Project.

What’s it going to look like? 

I tried to find the latest PDF sketches on the consultant’s web site and on the City of Northfield’s engineering project web site but I can’t seem to find them.

All I have are the photos I took of the paper sketches that were handed out at an NDDC forum last August when Jake Jacobsen presented his Harvest sculpture, blogged here on LG.

IMG_3876 IMG_3877

Can anyone help find ’em?


  1. No mailbox?

    These plans look really nice, though I do have to wonder if the money (around $1.5 almost $2 million if I correctly remember the N-News article from a year ago) could have been put to better use. I really appreciate the increase in pedestrian space — it kinds of extends Bridge Square southward.

    May 28, 2008
  2. Griff,
    If I remember right, you blogged about the big beautiful cottonwood tree the city cut down. I think this is why it was cut down.

    May 29, 2008
  3. Sean,

    What would you have spent the money on?

    May 29, 2008
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Sean, that’s an interesting way to think of it: extending Bridge Square southward.

    $1.74 million is the pricetag, reported in the paper here.

    May 29, 2008
  5. Ray Cox said:

    The price of the work includes a lot of the stuff no one ever sees….like new water mains, sewer piping, storm sewer piping, etc. But, it also includes some very nice features that we will all enjoy, such as a permanent home for Ray Jacobsen’s sculpture.
    Northfield Construction Company will be doing work in this area shortly. Once Heselton gets the ‘old work’ removed and out of the way we will be doing things like installing steps and seats, railings, stone walls, etc.

    May 29, 2008
  6. Mary Rossing said:

    Joel Walinski reminded me that the first “Construction Coffee” is scheduled for Saturday, June 7th at 8am. Anyone interested in hearing about progress on the 5th and Water St. projects is invited to meet at the corner of 5th and Division with your beverage to go.

    May 29, 2008
  7. kiffi summa said:

    Don’t know what all the “hoo-ha” is about: there have been innumerable, well, at least half a dozen, announced public meetings where the plans for this area have been shown. And for about two years, maybe more, with various iterations.

    Yes, it would be great for these plans to be easily found on the city’s website WHEN the work is actually ocurring, but they have been very adequately publicly presented. Not ALL is in a “virtual” world; you do have to go to some publicly announced meetings to know what’s going on.

    I think Joel Walinski has generally done a good job of this; and you know me… I’m always on the “city’s” case.

    Hopefully, people who are interested will take a bit of their Saturday morning, next week and go, in person, to find out more.

    May 29, 2008
  8. Anna Hovland said:

    I think you are partially correct when you say the construction project was the reason the cottonwood tree was cut down. First and foremost, however, the tree was in a mortality spiral; there is no saving a tree that is in such severe decline. I had been watching the slow deterioration of that tree for some time, and was surprised that it was not removed before Jesse James Days. If the declining tree was still there during the construction project I can say with absolute certainty that it would not have survived such a disturbance to its root system. We removed that tree while it still had some dignity.

    Also, in response to Kiffi Summa’s November 7th report that I called her a tree-hugger, I apologize if that was how she interpreted my words. I remember saying verbatim “Everybody is a tree hugger when it’s time to take a tree down, but where were you five years ago when this tree really needed you?”. My point being that, yes, nobody likes seeing trees cut down, but we need to be more proactive when it comes to taking care of this resource. Trees in the urban forest need special attention. Research has shown that the costs associated with caring for urban trees are exceeded by the benefits. Check out http://www.treelink.org/linx/factoid.php

    May 30, 2008
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Anna, great to have you here with detailed input. Is there a good way for citizens to know about the trees in town that do need special attention? I think we assume that city staff take care of it but evidently not always.

    May 31, 2008
  10. Hayes,
    I would have put the money toward recreational trails along the riverside. I don’t know exactly how far 1.9 (or 1.74) million dollars would go, but I have to believe it would go a lot further than the area affected by the Water Street lot.

    The city owns a significant amount of land along the Cannon River, in Campostella, Babcock, and Sechler parks. There’s beautiful nature there, but it’s completely inaccessible right now. The Park System Master Plan contains proposed trails in that area. We should start building those trails.

    I don’t mean to say that improving the Water Street lot is flushing money down the toilet. Certainly not; I just think that we could have done a more modest project (say, just refinishing the lot and widening the sidewalk to add space for the Harvest sculpture) and put the rest of the money toward another cause.

    May 31, 2008
  11. John S. Thomas said:

    It also appears that 3 more trees on 5th, between Water and the bridge are marked for cutting.

    They are nice healthy trees. It is too bad they cannot be moved to another city park or something.

    At least give someone the opportunity to move them. I am sure someone would gladly take them for the cost of moving them.

    May 31, 2008
  12. john george said:

    Sean- I think Ray’s perspective is pretty accurate. We need more than just surface enhancement. The utilities under the street are of greater cost and importance, especially with the river being as close as it is.

    Anna- It’s great to have some expert perspective on urban forests. My son is a certified arborist in North Dakota, so I have gotten some very similar perspectives from him. Trees are pretty long term, and skipped care over the early years can have irreversible effects later on. I’m sure the city does as much as it can with the limited resources it has, so any way private involvement could happen would have great results. It’s always a sacrifice to put your money where your mouth is. Just having a care plan could be a great help in soliciting and directing extra resources.

    May 31, 2008
  13. John,
    Surely there are still things that could be cut to save money. Though I realize the sketch may not be the exact way the final site turns out, it’s all we have to go on now, and there are definitely things we could do without: the limestone, the curving sidewalk, and the paving stone crosswalks to name a few.

    Maybe this is all worth it, but it’s just frustrating to see an obsession with making the already-terrific downtown more and more beautiful when we seem to be neglecting much of the town.

    May 31, 2008
  14. John S. Thomas said:


    You would have to agree though, that the 5th and Water location as it was, was quite the eyesore. Correct?

    June 1, 2008
  15. John T.,
    You’re right — it wasn’t exactly postcard material. Still, the plainness had some charm. I think it would have been best to fix it up, but keep it simple.

    June 1, 2008
  16. John S. Thomas said:

    Getting rid of all the cars, and making it all parkland would have been a start. 😎

    What I would really like to see is the Farmer’s Market migrate down here when it is completed.

    June 2, 2008
  17. John,

    When designing the new lot, that was one of the hopes!

    June 2, 2008
  18. Griff Wigley said:

    Is something amiss with the construction on Water St.? All the heavy equipment’s gone and work has halted. This project is on a tight deadline, both because of local business impact and DJJD.

    June 4, 2008
  19. This is just a guess, but I think that it has to do with all the rain that has been coming down. It might be to wet, but just a guess…

    June 4, 2008

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