Costly to fill in downtown cellars
The numbers are in, and it won't be cheap to fill in basements at four downtown Detroit Lakes locations. About a century ago, downtown businesses on Washington Avenue were heated with steam from the city power plant. Most of those steam pipes ran...
The numbers are in, and it won’t be cheap to fill in basements at four downtown Detroit Lakes locations.
About a century ago, downtown businesses on Washington Avenue were heated with steam from the city power plant.
Most of those steam pipes ran through basements that extended out about five feet, and so were essentially under the sidewalk.
The steam is long gone, but the pipes and extended basements still exist in four businesses on the avenue’s 800 block -Price’s Fine Jewelry, Barbara’s Hair-N-Body Care, TLC Companies Inc. (the former White Drug building) and Ginny’s Boutique.
With a major street renovation project now planned for Washington Avenue next summer, those last four extended basements have to go.
The problem is, who will pay for the work? The city has offered $5,000 apiece to the three smaller properties and $10,000 to TLC Companies, which has substantially more basement to fill in.
Under a proposal to the city from Zayic Concrete Inc. of Detroit Lakes, it would fill in all four basement sites.
The work would include removing the existing sidewalk, setting and pouring a foot-thick insulated concrete form wall, with an epoxy rebar package. It would waterproof the wall after pouring, fill the space with gravel, and compact up to sidewalk height.
Zayic would also cut and remove lower concrete for footing, repour the footing, and patch the floor back in where needed.
The cost at Price’s Jewelry would be $13,300.
At Barbara’s Hair N Body Care it would be $12,070.
At TLC Building it would be $20,800.
At Ginny’s Boutique it would be $9,850.
That’s substantially more than the work was expected to cost, but the city hasn’t sweetened its offer.
City officials met with building owners Monday to talk about the project, but no decisions were made, said City Administrator Bob Louiseau.
Some of the property owners earlier talked about possible legal action against the city, which would further delay the Washington Avenue project.
At least one owner believes the extended basements were built at the request of the city, so workers could access the steam lines: One basement appears to have been built with stair access for steam line workers.
Becker County will pay half the incentive costs. Washington Avenue is a county road, but the city is managing the reconstruction project, and the right-of-way is part of that.
In April, the city council held a public hearing on the basements, and passed a resolution requiring the building owners to act by June 1 or pay for the work through special assessments if the city has to take care of it.