Updating and growing in Mapleton, ND
Mapleton, North Dakota, is completing road and sewer upgrades by utilizing the BND Infrastructure Loan. Mayor Barry Lund and City Engineer Brandon Oye graciously share their thoughts on the assessment, planning and communication needed for the project.
Tell us about the problem you needed to address and how it was affecting your community.
The Fargo-Moorhead area has been experiencing tremendous growth, which is starting to flow over into the city of Mapleton. Our elementary school was overcrowded so the city recently voted to build a new elementary school. The first vote was not successful, but by providing additional information to the public, the second vote was successful. The site for the new school required upgrades to the infrastructure serving that area. The existing road was a narrow gravel road with inadequate drainage. There was water service, but no sewer service to the area. There was also no safe pedestrian access from our existing sidewalk and shared-use path network to this site.
What will you accomplish with the new school and infrastructure?
The new infrastructure is currently being constructed, with the first major milestone to get sewer and water service completed earlier this month. The next major milestone will be to construct a majority of the new asphalt street up to the site to provide adequate vehicular and pedestrian access for when school starts in late August. The school is scheduled to be completed in August. We will be excited to provide the city of Mapleton’s residents a new school facility that meets the demands and expectations for the level of education that parents and students expect. The new infrastructure is a key component to tie the school together with our existing community.
What kind of research did you complete to establish the need for a new school and infrastructure to support it?
It was clear that the infrastructure for the new street and sewer service would be required based on Moore Engineering’s review of the needs for this new site. Moore Engineering is our City Engineer and assists in planning, designing and overseeing construction of the city infrastructure projects. They provided a report identifying the new infrastructure needed and the estimated costs.
In addition to the basic infrastructure needed to serve the new school, the city of Mapleton also included a 10-foot wide concrete shared path. The city of Mapleton has been proactive in establishing pedestrian-friendly access throughout our community. We have already constructed many segments of shared-use path that connect several different areas of town together, and continue to work toward providing pedestrian connectivity to all areas of our city. Adding the shared-use path was an easy decision to continue with that vision.
How did you obtain community buy-in for the project?
As for getting buy-in for the city infrastructure, it was clear to the public that the project was needed to serve the new school. The city held a public input meeting to discuss the project scope and cost for the required city infrastructure and did not receive much negative feedback other than the potential cost of constructing the infrastructure.
What lessons learned do you have to share?
Involving (informing/communicating) the residents as their input is important to the preset and city’s future changes and growth.
How did you finance the project?
Moore Engineering is continually identifying potential funding sources for our infrastructure projects to make them more financially feasible. Moore Engineering suggested applying for the Bank of North Dakota Infrastructure Revolving Loan Fund. The application process was very simple compared to the typical funding sources we have used in the past. This loan was a great alternative to the typical bonding used for city infrastructure projects. The loan has a low interest rate of 2.00% and you only need to draw what you need, so you are not left with additional unused funds. They also have flexible loan periods up to 30 years. This financing will save the public hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.
How will you measure ROI?
The intent of building the new school was to attract more residents and businesses to the city of Mapleton. Ultimately, this will create a larger tax base to continue to provide the public services that residents and businesses expect. It will be difficult to determine the exact ROI on building the new school and infrastructure, but we could track the taxable income over the next decade compared to the previous decade to gauge generally how much impact it has made.
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