Archive for Thursday, July 2, 2009

Funding probably not there for downtown project in 2010

July 2, 2009

The downtown streetscape plan that consultant Marty Shukert and his RDG Planning and Design of Omaha, Neb., will present to the De Soto City Council Thursday would have a price tag of $1.48 million.

That figure is twice the $700,000 amount projected in the city’s five-year capital improvement for the project.

In an advance report of Thursday’s council presentation, two different phase-in options are presented for the project that is to improve streets and sidewalks on 83rd Street from Peoria to Shawnee streets. One would complete different sections of the project in three phases. The other option would address different infrastructure components in phases, starting with sidewalks.

The report states the second option was the “less desirable,” because “it would limit the private investment in downtown De Soto and leave out the items that create an enjoyable streetscape that people would want to come back to.”

The intersection of Wea and 83rd Street was the focus of the preliminary design RDG presented to the council in May. In addition to traffic bump-outs at the corners of that intersection plus stairs and ramps on sidewalks where needed, it included small shelters in front of the Bleu Tomato and a proposed community space in the south end of the fire station parking lot (a 14-car parking lot would be preserved on the north side of that lot).

In the new report, Phase 1 makes improvements proposed for the south side of 83rd Street from Wea to Shawnee and the north side of the street from Wea to about half way between the Dollar General store and the bank. The phase has an estimated cost of $635,000.

Phase 2 would complete improvements on the north side of 83rd north of Dollar General and those proposed for 83rd Street west of Wea to west of the city hall on the north and Post Office on the south. The phase would cost $558,000.

Phase 3 would finish the project to Peoria Street at an estimated cost of $292,000.

In addition to hearing details of the final plan, the council will also decide Thursday whether to proceed with design development of any part of the plan. In a note to the city council, City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said funding for design development would come from $100,000 in temporary notes issued this spring.

Beyond that, it doesn’t appear as if the city will have the money in 2010 to undertake any or part of the project. Guilfoyle, who will also present the council with his 2010 budget Thursday, said his conservative approach would prevent him from proposing the project short of a grant.

The downtown improvements in Baldwin City and Eudora were completed with the help of Transportation Enhancement Grants from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman said a KDOT grand provide 80 percent of $1.6 million improvements to streets and sidewalks (the city alone paid for another $200,000 to upgrade downtown water lines).

In Eudora, the KDOT grant provided 80 percent of the $1.5 million replace sidewalks and add new lighting from Seventh to Ninth streets on Main Street. Main Street was also repaved and fitted with new curbs and gutters from Sixth to 10th streets.

De Soto applied and was turned down for the grant twice, the latest being in 2007, De Soto city engineer Mike Brungardt said.

The latest rejection came with the usual justification that the grant was competitive and project far exceeded funding, Brungardt said. But KDOT also explained visibility was a criteria and the distance from a highway counted against the De Soto project.

The Transportation Enhancement Grant was part of the last state transportation program, which expired last year, Burngardt said. But that won’t stop the city from exploring other grand options through the state, he said.


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