Brooklyn Center Settles Lawsuit Over COVID-19-Postponed Construction
The city of Brooklyn Center has conditionally settled a lawsuit filed by two construction companies over the city’s suspension of construction projects due to COVID-19.
In a proclamation on March 29, Mayor Mike Elliott suspended the Grandview North Area Street and Utility Improvements Project and the Interstate Area Street and Utility Improvements Project. R.L. Larson Excavating of St. Cloud and S.R. Weidema of Maple Grove sued the city, claiming the suspensions could cost them large sums of money.
The mayor’s proclamation stemmed from concerns over the respiratory health of some residents in the construction areas.
On signing the proclamation, Elliott said, “We don’t want anyone going to the hospital if we can avoid it.” His proclamation stated that “it would create an unacceptable risk to public health and welfare to expose those living within those neighborhoods, and particularly those who are most susceptible to the impacts of construction, to begin residential street construction projects involving substantial excavation that can reasonably be delayed until the stay-at-home order is lifted.”
Brooklyn Center’s project delays would have been in effect for as many as 30 days or more.
But according to City Manger Curt Boganey, in an emergency meeting held Friday, April 10, the city council voted to rescind the proclamation as long as the two companies withdraw their lawsuit. That means the projects can go forward, but with some modifications.
Residents Can Expect Modifications to Reduce Construction Dust
Among the modifications, the two companies agreed to keep construction-related dust down with water sprayed on the sites, and to install high-performance air filters or filtration units in houses the city deems to have “identified and validated health concerns” relating to construction dust. The city may also share costs with the construction companies to temporarily relocate residents deemed to be facing “serious health risks due to the dust and related air quality issues.”
S.R. Weidema declined to comment, and R.L. Larson did not return phone calls asking for comment as of press time.
Mayor Mike Elliott, meanwhile, did provide the following statement to CCX News:
My responsibility as Mayor is to protect the safety and health of all Brooklyn Center Residents. When I became aware of the health concerns on Friday, March 27, we tried to get the companies to voluntarily suspend the projects on a temporary basis. At least one of the companies refused. I issued the temporary suspension to allow time for the health issues to be addressed. We were facing an emergency situation and took the appropriate action.”
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