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Mandan trail project protest period impacted by mail delay

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Southwest Mandan in the vicinity of Fort Lincoln Elementary School is a fast-growing area.

City officials in Mandan are likely to extend the public protest period for a proposed trail project in the fast-growing area west of Fort Lincoln Elementary School due to a mail delivery delay.

The first part of the 19th Street Trail project created a trail on the south side of 19th Street Southwest, from the school to Macedonia Avenue. The second phase will extend the trail to state Highway 6, through a newly developed housing area west of the school. It's to be bid in February for construction this year. 

The project cost is estimated at about $855,000, with a state grant funding $290,000 and the rest -- $565,000 -- being paid by area property owners through special assessment taxes.

The city typically mails letters as a courtesy to property owners in special assessment districts explaining the district, basic project information, estimated costs and the protest period. If more than 50% of property owners in a district protest, the project is canceled.

The letters for the 19th Street Trail Phase II project were delivered to the post office Dec. 30 but are just now being delivered to affected residents -- after Monday's deadline to protest.

The 1,460 letters were mailed through a third party as bulk or standard mail, rather than as first class mail, which typically is delivered faster, according to City Engineering and Planning Director Justin Froseth. He said the delay won't impact construction, which won't start until the spring if the project moves forward.

The city also issued public notices in The Morton County & Mandan News, the city's official newspaper, as required by law. But since the mailed notices are just arriving, city staff are recommending the protest period deadline be extended from Jan. 10 to Jan. 24.

Staff also are recommending two project public hearings before the city commission -- on Tuesday, as originally noticed, and on Tuesday, Feb. 1, to accommodate for the delayed letter delivery. Staff on Tuesday will ask commissioners to hold off on considering the level of protests until after the Feb. 1 hearing.

For more information on the project, go to https://bit.ly/3rjJ0HT. Property owners with further questions can contact the Engineering and Planning Department at 701-667-3225.

Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or blake.nicholson@bismarcktribune.com.

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