New construction projects or reconstruction projects can be initiated in one of two ways.
The first way is by petition, where the signatures of property owners whose abutting property frontage totals at least 35% of the abutting property frontage in the proposed project area must be submitted via petition to the City Clerk requesting street or utility improvements. Such petitions must be submitted by October 1st of the year prior to the year in which the improvement is requested to take place.
The other way projects are initiated is through recommendations brought forward to the Hastings City Council by Public Works & Engineering Department staff. This type of project initiation is more commonly observed.
Design & Development
The potential project areas are first surveyed to accurately gather the locations and layout of the City's existing infrastructure components. The survey data also assists the design team with identifying locations of existing private utilities (telephone, electric, natural gas, cable TV, etc.) as well as trees and other natural features.
The survey information is transferred to CADD (computer assisted design and drafting) computers and utilized to draw the layout of the existing infrastructure, and to layout and design the proposed improvements. The new design is developed incorporating current City specifications and standards for street and utility construction. Special care is taken in reconstruction areas to avoid trees and to blend into the existing neighborhood with minimal impact.
Once the preliminary design has been completed for each project, cost estimates based on recent years' actual construction costs are computed. Estimates of proposed assessments are also calculated in accordance to the City's assessment policy, and estimated assessments are compiled for each land parcel.
Usually in the mid to late winter, an announcement is sent out to all parties who stand to be assessed for the proposed project, and an open house/neighborhood meeting is held at City Hall to discuss the potential projects and the estimated costs. This is an informal setting where affected property owners can have a one-on-one discussion with members of Engineering Department staff. It is important for affected property owners to keep in mind that at this time, the project is in the state of being "proposed." A project does not proceed to the construction phase without being ordered by the City Council .
After the neighborhood meetings are conducted, comments and concerns received at the meeting are compiled and presented to the City Council . The City Council then proceeds to hold a public hearing in early spring in which comments and concerns can be voiced directly to the Mayor and City Council by affected property owners and the public at large. During the public hearing, the City Council takes these comments into consideration, as well as those received during the neighborhood meeting and subsequently makes the decision of whether to change any design aspects of the project, and also decides whether to order the project proceed to construction.
The public is encouraged to fully participate in the neighborhood meeting and the public hearing, not only to participate in the process and make their views known to the City Council, but also to assist the engineering staff in preparing the most beneficial and cost effective project design.