Archive for Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Downtown project remains in standstill

April 18, 2006

Although the Baldwin City Council took action on the downtown streetscape project at Monday's meeting, it's still nowhere close to starting and has left many people in limbo.

The council unanimously approved the issuance of $1.29 million in General Obligation Temporary Notes to finance its portion of the $1.2 million downtown project, the $1 million-plus Women's Bridge project and the purchase of the Kappelle property. Also, the council approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation, which is providing 80 percent of the downtown and Women's Bridge funding, to adjust the figures each pays resulting the city purchasing downtown property for the project.

Still, it didn't move the project along. The original time-line announced in September had the process -- including bids and contractor chosen -- to be finished in time for a March start. It's April 20 and the project is nowhere close to being started.

"With the two agreements the council passed Monday night, I'd hoped we'd be able to get an advertisement for bidders for this week," City Administrator Jeff Dingman said Tuesday. "Unfortunately, this morning my contact at KDOT says those are our final pieces, but the feds have to give their stamp of approval on everything, which will take four or five days.

"I anticipate that hopefully by the end of the week or maybe early next week we'll be able to get a legal notice advertising for bidders," said Dingman. "Seems like the weeks fly by when you need to get something done."

Dingman said Tuesday that he doesn't expect the project can be started before June 1. He's also contemplating an Oct. 6 date to shut the project down, regardless of its status, as a "window" for the annual Maple Leaf Festival, which is scheduled for Oct. 21-22.

A complete story will be in Thursday's Signal.

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