At tonight's council meeting, officials reported that the Downtown Revitalization Project is progressing well despite encountering some areas of contamination.

Mayor Roy Ludwig suggested that contamination might stem from old gas stations but doesn't foresee it delaying the project. “We'll have to, according to regulations, deal with the contaminated soil and continue with the project,” said Ludwig.

Michael Walker with Associated Engineering noted that lab results on the contaminated areas are expected soon, and the council will be updated accordingly. Walker explained they are working on a two-part contract: the first focuses on the underground portion of the project, while the second ensures the work stays within budget and the approved scope.

Councillor Lindsay Clarke asked for specifics on the current work. Walker said crews are removing old asphalt and reclaiming as much aggregate as possible for reuse. They are also isolating water lines. “Working with city crews to add in new valves to make sure that the water gets isolated, so we don’t lose pressurization or the water quality in the rest of the city,” said Walker.

Councillor Travis Frank inquired about sidewalk use during construction. Walker responded, “Working with the downtown business association, to try to leave that sidewalk open as long as possible. And then at some point, we will have to delete that access, but we will be working with them to make sure that we try to do that as short of disruption as possible.”

Councillor Shelly Veroba asked if businesses would ever have zero access to their properties. Walker replied, “We’ve minimized our risk. There are one or two cases where they don’t have a suitable back entrance to allow total access, and in those cases, we’ve been working with them to modify access to get into the business through another means. The goal is that at all times they will have access to their business or place of residence, whether that’s from the front or back access or if we have to modify through an alternate back entrance, in one case through an interior wall.”

Walker encouraged anyone with concerns to contact them. “I encourage anyone that is, you know, having issues or concerns to contact us, and we’ll do our best to accommodate,” he said.

Councillor Rebecca Foord recommended the Downtown Revitalization section on the city website for public updates on the project. Veroba echoed Foord's sentiments, emphasizing the website as a resource for updates and FAQs. “That’s going to be a huge help moving forward, a lot of times the issues that have come forward with this project are due to questions. Either from misinformation that is being put out there or from seeing something and being unsure what’s going on for themselves,” she said.

Veroba added that if there are further questions, citizens should contact city hall first. If still unsure, they can reach out to a council member for answers.