Archive for Thursday, November 8, 2007

County dusts off De Soto trailway proposal

November 8, 2007

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District has recycled a city of De Soto trailways park plan passed over for grant funding last year.

The plan would build a 4,000-foot trail along the north side of Kansas Highway 10, linking the Kill Creek Streamway Trail to Commerce Drive and Lexington Avenue intersection.

De Soto city engineer Mike Brungardt developed the plan last year for a grant application that provided money to build a demonstration trail along the highway. A Lenexa project was eventually chosen.

The park district is calling the recycled De Soto project the second phase of "the K-10 Smart Trail" as a nod to a proposal headed by the Mid America Regional Council to build a trail for hikers and bikers along K-10's entire route.

In a search for funding to help with the project's estimated $375,000 cost, the park district is applying for a $300,000 federal Transportation Enhancement Grant administered by the Kansas Department of Transportation. That is the same grant funding city of De Soto officials hope will fund the city's downtown streetscape enhancements.

The De Soto City Council gave its endorsement of the project last Thursday.

Park district Bill Maasen said the two projects would not be in direct competition. Jurisdictions apply for grants in three different categories and the projects advanced by the city and county are not in the same categories, he said.

The state is expected to announce what projects will get funded in March or April.

The De Soto trail project was selected over one in Olathe that wasn't as fully planned, Maasen said.

Planning also is lacking for the K-10 trail overall, Maasen said.

"We have a very loose plan of where the trail is going to be right now not the actual location," he said.

The plan also has not been accepted by the planning commissions of any of the cities along K-10 or Johnson County, Maasen said.

"I'm hoping we can address that in the next year," he said. "It would sure add strength to the whole proposal."

Should the De Soto trail be selected for funding, it would add another link to Kill Creek Streamway Park. Maasen said traffic counts indicated 30,000 people have visited that park from the parking lot on 95th Street since Jan. 1, 2007.

"That's not counting the walk-ins," he said. "It gets pretty good visitation."

Last year, the park district extended the trail .8 miles to the south of 95th Street. Maasen said he would recommend the county connect the trail next year to those in Kill Creek Regional Park.

"That's one-and-a-half miles," he said. "I don't see any reason why we won't build that this year."

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