Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2000

City’s land purchase makes no sense

August 30, 2000

To the editor:

As a citizen of Baldwin I would like to take a moment of my fellow

citizens time to comment on the recent announcement of the proposed purchase of land southwest of our community for a business/recreational park. I am excited that our city council has moved towards purchasing ground for these purposes, unfortunately it raises more concerns and questions for myself than a feeling of euphoria.

First and foremost the location of this proposed park. It is 1.1 miles from the closest two-lane highway (U.S. Highway 56). Why should we build an industrial park so far from the only major traffic artery that serves Baldwin? As a commercial contractor I have access to costs that are associated with development. A road capable of supporting heavy vehicle traffic would cost $150 per foot to construct. Over 1.1 miles at this estimate reaches the sum of over $750,000. This takes into account utilizing Lawrence Street in Baldwin, which is in need of repair and will not support heavy use in its current state, as the most direct route to U.S. Highway 56. Seems like a high price with land available for purchase ON the highway. Also the cost of the road is just one factor involved. The location is not geographically close (under a half mile by my guess) to the city's sewer, water and electrical grid. If we think that these items don't cost a lot to be run that distance then we as a community are sadly mistaken.

Second, how does it seem like a good idea to put industrial/business projects next door to recreational facilities? The potential conflict between business traffic, heavy trucks and the like with families driving or, worse, children on bikes in the area just doesn't strike me as a good idea. I understand the combination of our limited resources to accomplish dual goals, but this combination at first glance does not work.

This project will cost the city of Baldwin double, if not triple the cost of the raw land which is reported to be $590,000 before it sees its first business occupant or baseball diamond constructed. Can we afford to build an industrial park with no easy access to a means of transportation? Will our community's investment of millions in this site, which is where a project of this scope is headed in today's dollars, make sense? Have we exhausted all other options to locate a recreational facility close to the city? Can't we find land on the highway that would be attractive to business and industry alike?

I think that purchasing this ground will result in a huge investment of BORROWED capital. After all a bond issue is a loan that we as taxpayers are obligated to pay. It will be a tremendous drain on our limited resources, and not attract that much use because it is geographically isolated. I urge other citizens who are concerned about this project to contact me about their concerns, at my home phone number, or e-mail me at Hazekd@aol.com.

Regards,

Ken Hayes

409 11th Street

Baldwin City

785-594-3431

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