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  • Mike @ Commerce Street

Commerce Street Reconstruction Update

The City of Mineral Point is proposing to tear up lower Commerce Street (from 00 South Street to Old Darlington Rd) to replace the "patchwork of asphalt" with new roadway and underground infrastructure. The estimated cost of this project is approximately $2 million.

The Common Council may vote on this matter at 6pm on May 14th (2024), but it has never been provided with the necessary engineering background information. Until now.

Here is what alderpersons need to know before they vote:

  1. In 2020, Delta 3 made a list of prioritized infrastructure improvement recommendations for the city. Number one was South Street. Number two was High Street (done!). And Commerce Street was number nine. See the document here:

Download PDF • 1.01MB

2. In 2021, Delta 3 commissioned a "televising" of the storm pipe that was believed to be causing the sinkhole on South Street. They concluded that the sewer was not responsible for the sinkhole, and further, that most of the storm sewer was in good enough shape that replacement was not urgent. Delta 3 was apparently not asked to revise their priorities list from 2020. See the document here:

Committee memo - South St. storm pipe (east of Vine)_compressed
Download PDF • 1.63MB

3. In February 2024, city staff asked the Streets and Finance committees to approve expenditure of nearly $200k to hire Delta 3 to engineer a reconstruction of Commerce Street (including South Street and part of Old Darlington Rd). The staff memo never mentioned the previous engineering reports. The memo cited only the sinkhole, a one-time water main break, and the "patchwork of asphalt." You can read the memo here:

South Street Memo 2024
Download PDF • 138KB

4. The Streets Committee was made up of 3 aldermen, only one of whom was on the committee at the time of the 2020-2021 reports. The Committee voted to approve the Delta 3 engineering contract. Later, the Finance Committee declined to approve the contract, as did the Common Council, both citing a need for competitive bids.

5. We filed a request for records with the city and obtained the documents above. It is our impression that city staff was unaware of them prior to our request.

6. In May 2024, city staff brought 3 competitive bids to the Finance Committee and Common Council. Staff reported that the chairman of the Streets committee was "adamant" that his committee would not revisit its earlier recommendation to contract with Delta 3. Staff also clarified to the Finance Committee that, in essence, a vote for the ~ $200k engineering contract was inherently a commitment to fund the $2 million construction project. The Finance Committee voted to approve the contract with Delta 3, which, in total dollars, was the highest bidder, but which might result in lower costs in the end. The matter is now before the Common Council.

Two million dollars is a lot of money. We ask our city councilors to become educated before voting to approve this expense. We estimate that Commerce Street Brewery Hotel's share of the $2 million will be around $4,700, and that Commerce Street could be closed for up to 3 months. The losses attributable to this road closure could be enough to put us out of business.

UPDATE 5/15/24: The Common Council met on May 14th and discussed this proposal. We spoke to the issues mentioned above during the "public comment" portion of the meeting. On a five-to-two vote, the Council voted against moving forward with the Delta 3 contract at this time. The mayor promised that there is "no way" reconstruction work on Commerce Street would be undertaken before 2026.

We are extremely grateful to have been heard. We hope that, as this project is revisited, the City will: (1) undertake an assessment of the urgency of this project in relation to other projects on the 2020 Delta 3 "priorities" report, and (2) involve stakeholders in a meaningful way (in the form of a steering committee, perhaps) well before committing to spend large sums of money on the project.


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