Grants for High Street are welcomed developments
Baldwin City received wonderful news Tuesday -- not once, but twice -- when word reached City Hall that two major grants for projects along High Street were awarded by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
One of the grants, totaling roughly $1.2 million, will be used to transform downtown Baldwin into an area that residents can be proud of and that visitors -- and hopefully more of them -- will enjoy and make them want to return.
The other grant, just under $1 million, will go to restoration of the "Women's Bridge" on High Street, a historically significant bridge built in the 1890s after a vote by a rarity of the time -- an all woman city council.
Both projects are deserving of the federal highway funds that KDOT dolled out to Baldwin City. Both grants were obviously well written and served their purpose.
It's fabulous to get a grant, but to get two of that magnitude in the same year is almost unheard of. Baldwin City should feel lucky.
Of course, that's not all the money that it will take to fund these projects. The grants cover 80 percent of the cost and the city must provide the other 20 percent, plus design costs. It will be money well spent.
As Councilman Tony Brown so aptly put it regarding the grants: "Put it in personal terms: pick a house you want to buy and I'll pay for 80 percent of it. Wouldn't you want to take that deal?"
Of course you would. And so should Baldwin.
As the downtown project was discussed prior to applying for the grants, there were some who opposed the plan, including business owners downtown who did not want to be stuck with the burden of the cost alone. Who could blame them?
No, these matching funds need to come from all of the city. We will all benefit from the improvements along High Street. There are still details to work out, but the funding will be found to make them happen, according to city officials.
Baldwin will be better off for it.