Park-and-ride project moving forward

By Amanda Schwarze
Staff Writer

The low bid for the Maple Plain park-and-ride project came in below the engineer’s estimate.

The Maple Plain City Council voted 4-0 July 23 to accept the low bid from New Look Contracting in the amount of $658,256.40. City Councilor Jerry Young was absent from the meeting. The engineer’s estimate for the project was $683,937.50.

Five contractors bid on the project. The second lowest bid was in the amount of $667,748.94 and the highest bid was in the amount of $763,587.19. Bidders were informed that the project must be completed by Oct. 31.

While the goal is to ultimately turn the lot into a park-and-ride, it will start out as a park-and-pool lot for carpoolers. Metro Transit officials are still trying to find funds to operate a bus route to the area and bus service may not be available in the city for years.

Maple Plain officials began discussions in 2008 with Metro Transit officials about constructing a park-and-ride lot in the city. Prior to agreeing to locate the lot in Maple Plain, plans had placed a park-and-ride in Orono off of Highway 12 at County Road 6. City officials were successful in persuading Metro Transit officials that the area on Baker Park Road, not far from the intersection with Highway 12, would be a more ideal location for the lot.

By the end of 2010, design work on the project began, which was finished at the end of last year. Also last year, the two homes that once were located on the site were burned during a fire department training exercise and demolished.

The city purchased the two Baker Park Road properties with the help of a $460,000 grant from Hennepin County. Maple Plain has also received a $691,600 from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to build the site. Metro Transit is paying for the design and engineering of the facility.

Plans for the site call for 156 parking stalls on the lot. Proposed furnishings on the site include light fixtures, benches, trash receptacles and bicycle racks, which will all be painted black. Currently there are 104 trees on the site and the plans call for 84 of them to be removed and for 34 new trees to be planted after construction, which would leave the site with 54 trees.

Maple Plain City Administrator Jason Ziemer said that a groundbreaking ceremony for the park-and-ride lot is scheduled to take place Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. Throughout that day, the city will also be celebrating its 100th anniversary with a variety of activities taking place.