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Committees discuss community facilities, infrastructure at city meetings

By Sue Sitter - | May 29, 2021

Work on Rugby’s swimming pool building came closer to a start after the City of Rugby finance committee approved a request by City Engineer Jim Olson to seek bids May 19.

The finance committee was one of five to meet that day. In attendance at some of the meetings were North Dakota District 14 Rep. Jon Nelson, city public works employees and members of the public.

The finance committee approved what Olson referred to as Task Order 6, which includes replacing windows on the pool building along with installing a large door in a space where a door had been replaced by a wall. Bids were solicited from Fargo Glass, Devils Lake Glass Shop and local contractor Mike Swanson.

The task order will go before the Rugby City Council at their regular meeting, to be held June 7 at 7:30 p.m. in city hall.

Public works committee members heard information on several infrastructure needs for the city – and ways to meet them.

Olson updated the committee on a camera study of the sewer system in the city’s northwest quadrant.

“As you know we’ve been televising parts of northwest quadrant,” Olson said, showing the area on a map. Olson said the camera encountered tree roots, soot and, in the area near the ball diamonds, a fence post driven through the sewer pipe.

Olson said he met with public works employees and Rugby Recreation Director Dave Schneibel to form “a plan of attack to pull that pipe out and dig it up and make repairs.”

The repairs will include putting a manhole on the property near Diamond 1 using recycled parts.

An area outside of the quadrant, located on First Street west of the Pierce County Fairgrounds also has sewer lines flowing west to the same area where the northwestern quadrant drains, according to Olson.

The committee voted to include that section in the camera study along with the northwest quadrant.

Olson said he was in the process of reviewing the camera footage.

Olson said when workers televised a section of pipe in the northwest quadrant near the Precision Auto Body shop, “They had a collapse immediately from (that area) 50 feet east of the manhole.”

Public Works employee Troy Munyer “made repairs the same day,” Olson said, adding, “All is well. It’s all clay pipe and is in rough shape.”

Olson suggested coordinating infrastructure repairs for the area with work scheduled to begin in the area near N.D. Highway 3 with the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s planned road project. The NDDOT project would dig up water and sewer infrastructure along the route, which includes the area where Highway 3 meets First Street near a Cenex station and west from there.

“I had a meeting before with North Dakota DOT and they confirmed that they’re going to do the Highway 3 project in the spring. They also confirmed that they’re going to do Phase II immediately after that which is all the paving from Cenex west of town,” Olson said. “It doesn’t matter to them because they’re going to do it with or without is. If we’re going to replace pipe, whether it be water or sewer, they said now’s the time to do it.”

“I’m asking that we have a short discussion about it,” Olson added. “It’s kind of something that fell in our lap. The DOT postponed the project and now, we’re sitting here asking, do we replace the pipe now before it’s paved? It’s a no-brainer, but it’s a committee decision.”

Olson said with the DOT doing part of the work on that stretch of road, the city would save money.

“If I talk the state into biting off a lot of that pavement, the project’s right in the $900,000 range. If I don’t, it’s going to be in excess of $1.7 million,” Olson said.

Nelson, who attended the public works committee meeting, discussed the possibility that federal funds received by the state related to COVID-19 and stimulus might be available for the project.

Nelson added allocation of the funds would be discussed when the Legislature returns to Bismarck in “late October or November for redistricting.”

“When we left in April, we didn’t have enough guidance to make decisions on this, but I believe it’s $1.9 billion that we’re looking at for North Dakota,” Nelson noted.

“My understanding is (the money will be allocated) by project,” Nelson added.

Other projects at the public works meeting included work on transmission lines from the city’s wells to the water plant. Olson told the committee Rugby was “in a good position with the state water commission to be receiving a 60 percent grant when that happens.”

Olson said applications for grant funds would be due in June. “The State Water Commission meets August 12 and we will have our application in by then and possibly be chatting about reconstruction applications,” Olson added.

Olson also updated the committee on an application for USDA Rural Development funds for sewer work in the area near 2 1/2 Avenue. The agency requested current sewer rates for city customers and information about past issues with the transmission lines.

The committee agreed to table discussion of replacing clarifiers at the city water plant and repainting the inside of a 100,000-gallon tank at the facility.

The committee also considered a request by Rugby Homes Owner Gary Kirchofner to expand sewer lines to property west of his business.

Both the public works and buildings committees heard updates on plans to make the Rugby Armory accessible to people with disabilities. Buildings committee members also recommended seeking estimates for repairs to the armory roof and plumbing inside a wall at city hall.

Buildings committee member Joel Berg, who also sits on the recreation committee, said after the meeting the recreation committee would fill in holes at the city recreation complex and baseball diamonds to make sure the area was ready for summer sports.

“The diamonds will be useable for the kids,” Berg said.

Berg noted Rugby High’s softball team, who recently finished their inaugural season this year, would “eventually be able to use the diamonds” at the recreation complex.

“The girls used the diamonds for practices because of issues with the dugouts,” Berg explained.

But of summer softball and baseball programs, Berg said, “that’s all a go.”

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