Archive for Friday, February 20, 2009

City council, school district discuss streets to new BESPC

February 20, 2009

Providing new roads to the area where the new Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center will be located brought school district officials to Thursday’s Baldwin City Council meeting.

Baldwin School Board Member Ande Parks and Supt. Paul Dorathy attended the meeting at noon in City Hall. The Thursday meeting was caused by a lack of quorum on Monday. Parks and Dorathy are concerned that the planning commission has recommended that Elm Street be extended from 11th Street to Lawrence Ave. as part of the construction.

That and extending Bullpup Drive, which goes to the present Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center, could cost an estimated $2 million and the district doesn’t have that money figured into the project.

“The district position is that would be beneficial, but there is no evidence about that being necessary,” said Parks. “I don’t think we can pay for it and I don’t think the city can pay for it.”

Dorathy said a traffic study is being done to help determine what’s needed regarding streets. But he echoed Parks’ belief that the full extension of Elm Street is too much.

“The part of going all the way through with Elm Street is over and above what we planned,” said Dorathy. “I know it would be nice to do that and it would help traffic flow. But I realize your budget is as tight as ours is.”

City Administrator Jeff Dingman said a benefit district would have to be established to eventually pay for the project. The city would build the streets, but those that benefit — most notably the school district — would have to pay for it over time.

“This is a timely discussion,” said Dingman. “As we start the process it is good to know what that benefit district will be in allocating cost between the benefit district and our cost. We need to start making some decisions and determine where that goes.”

Council Member Ted Brecheisen Jr. noted that developers are responsible for paying for streets in subdivisions they build and the school district should be no different.

“Why don’t we want to follow that policy?” said Brecheisen. “I’m a little disappointed that this street thing wasn’t worked out before the bond issue. We’ve got a lot to look at with this. I don’t know how much further we can go with this until we know more.”

Dorathy said the traffic study is out for bids and it’s hoped that it will be completed in time for the next planning commission meeting. He also said the $22.9 million bond issue voters passed in November doesn’t include money for streets.

“There is no contingency in the bond for that,” he said.

Council Member Ken Wagner wanted to know the timeline involved, among other items.

“Are you getting shovel ready?” said Wagner. “Are there any other problem areas?”

Dorathy said the district wants to go to bids with the project in April and that ball field work would be the first on the list. Building streets factors into the four new baseball and softball fields that will be part of the project.

“We’re trying to move along with bids as quickly as possible,” said Dorathy. “Yeah, we’re trying move along because bids are coming in low right now and we want to take advantage of that.”

Comments

oldschool 5 years, 8 months ago

I seems to me that DLR dropped the ball when they drew up plans for ball fields with no street access, not consulting coaches on what is needed, and no parking lots. Now everyone is scrambling around trying to figure out how to get it done right.

It also seems to me that Elm Street has been in need of the extension since the IC was built. Kids that walk home or ride bikes home from school should have streets and sidewalks to use. Don't tell me the City didn't know or anticipate this.

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andeparks 5 years, 8 months ago

I believe the article from a year ago is discussing connecting Elm from Bullpup WEST to Lawrence Ave.. We are all in agreement there. What concerns me is the possibility of the city asking us to connect Bullpup to Elm to the EAST, and even improving Elm all the way to 11th.

We're discussing the needs of both the city and the district, and those talks are ongoing. I went to the council yesterday simply to ask that they not require the extension and improvement of Elm to the East until a traffic study dictates that it is truly needed.

Ande Parks Board Member- USD 348 594 3292

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rateraiser 5 years, 8 months ago

Hello..................anybody in this town actually drove down Elm street from 11th to the dead end. It is hardly wide enough to support traffic for the 8-10 houses in that block. The only way to improve it would be to widen the street. Then all the homeowners would be using the street as their front porch, I'm sure they would appreciate that.

It's finally became obvious that the "idea of a new school and etc." was what was passed this November and not a "real plan for a new school."

Everytime I asked about the size and specifics of the ball fields I was given the run around. Only two (one of each) will be large enough for HS play. "Dorathy said it might be a challenge to get all four fields to fit on the property, but it appears they will all fit."...Probably should of checked into that before hand. Now we are going to have four ball fields stacked on top of each other with no real room for spectators.

As far as parking goes....who needs parking. We'll just have busses bring everybody in. On a more serious note. Can a parking lot be built on the west side of the extended Bullpup drive?

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sparky 5 years, 8 months ago

Welcome to dealing with the city of Baldwin. I have been down this road so to speak. I wanted to build one house at the end of a dead end gravel road in the city limits with no other houses around and was told that I had to build up the street with 20 foot wide asphalt minimum for the entire block with a cul de sac at the end, along with new water mains, sewer and such just for one little house at the end of the block while I owned the entire block and didn't want any other houses to be built on the block. Why should the city have to put in the roads for the school district when they were going to make me pay for about the same amount of road work just to build one little house? And yes I'm still ticked about it.

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andeparks 5 years, 8 months ago

I really disagree with the accusations that the ball fields will be inadequate or too cramped. I have seen the plans and, while there are challenges (as there would be with almost any piece of land), the fields will be very nice. I wish we could build twice as many. I wish we could build all of them for tournament use. I also wish we could build an auditorium that would be big enough for single performances and graduations. But, after a year or so considering all the options, we had to move forward with something we thought our community could support and afford. The whole process is about compromising, and I think the facilities committee did a wonderful job sifting through the possibilities and emerging with a plan that fits our current and long-range needs.

As for parking at the ball fields, I believe it will be fine. You could probably always use more, but again... hard choices had to be made. We will have the IC parking, parking along both Bullpup and Elm (extended to the West), as well as parking at the new PC (one block away).

Best, Ande

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Stacy Napier 5 years, 8 months ago

Ande,

I was at the joint meeting last year also. I remember that the only thing that was brought up with streets was that you had originally planned to have Elm dead end at the Primary center.
The city said that the district would have to extend Elm to Bullpup and that it would have to have curb and sidewalks saying that would be fine. They did not request the Elm be put through to the east.

Typical City staff, they say one thing and then later they say you need more. They are all mostly incompetent and given the smallness of our city as a business they should be a lot better for what they get paid.

The citizens of our town should wake up and make the city council hold the paid staff accountable for what they do. Maybe they need pay for perfomance plans.

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p_zinzer 5 years, 8 months ago

Let's be honest here -- the pro-Bond Issue folks said whatever it took for the bond to get passed and it's clear that they had approximately the same attention to detail about how to accomplish it that the Bush Administration paid to post-victory Iraq. Now we're in a real pickle here, since the bond money has to be spent and yet if we lolligag around it just costs us more.

Now as far as USD 348 being caught in the vortex of the city staff and the planning commission, all I can say is you are certainly getting your comeupance for either not being truthful or for not being thorough. Either way, those horribly incompetent, cruel and lazy directors of public works and codes enforcement will suck your blood out through a million little bites and they will feast on your screams.

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Stacy Napier 5 years, 7 months ago

To sum it up,

A bunch of small timers trying to run things like the big cities.

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ktrendel 5 years, 7 months ago

Once again I must state how disappointed I am that people are not held accountable for their comments. Ridiculing the city staff for something that was not discussed, is clearing demonstration lack in knowledge with this matter. The issues raised were regarding the baseball fields as a stand-alone project. The city requested that Elm Street be extended from Lawrence Street to Bullpup prior to completion of the ball fields. Now that an elementary school has been added in the development, the Planning Commission has recommended the extension of Elm Street from Lawrence Street to 11th Street; not city staff, and a traffic study for most of the intersections of the area in question. The Planning Commission sighted the need of safety for walking pedestrians as well as bicycle commuters to the complex while maintaining the minimal traffic at the intersection of Lawrence Street and 56 Highway. The only connection from the city core for this transitional route is Elm Street.

I welcome any and all to attend the Planning Commission meetings to better understand the issues. I would even stop by and pickup "notwhatyouthink", if I knew who this person was.

Kyle Trendel, City of Baldwin City Planning Commission

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Stacy Napier 5 years, 7 months ago

Kyle, I was not talking about the Planning Commission, I was talking about the City Commission meeting. This was the joint meeting last year, You know the same one were the Hardware store was up to overturn your descisions.

At that time I listened to the School district say they they were going to put not only the ball fields, but also the primary center. They even talked about putting the Jounior High there later. Our city staff, You know the ones, I think you were there said that they only had to put the street to Bull Pup drive.

This was the same city staff that tried to bypass your planning commissions wishes on the hardware store.
So you tell me do you really have that much faith in our "paid" staff?

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ktrendel 5 years, 7 months ago

Notwhatyouthink, I will have to say that we do not share the same views from the meeting you reference regarding the school district projects. I also do not share the same views with you for the "city staff" bypassing the planning commission in the Arrowhead Hardware project. Regardless of these viewpoints, my decisions are based on public safety and well being of those using the facilities and the neighborhoods that they impact. I try to work with the city staff as well as the city council to better the environment and I would encourage you to stay active in the same pursuit. There is no benefit to criticize a city staff member in this type of forum.

Kyle Trendel

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p_zinzer 5 years, 7 months ago

"There is no benefit to criticize a city staff member in this type of forum."

Here's the benefit, Kyle. If you criticize the Director of Public Works or the Director of Codes Enforcement though any other mechanism that would attach your name to it, they will target you and your business in town. They will do everything in their power to cost you so much time and money that you'll wish (which is actually their wish) that you never opened a business in Baldwin.

Kyle, your Planning Commission is full of people cut from the same nasty, hateful, and weak cloth. You all just live to see projects shrivel up and die.

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kermit 5 years, 7 months ago

I am going to show my ignorance here. What exactly does a planning commission do and who are they accountable to? How many are on a planning commission and how do you get on this board. I don't recall elections for this, so are they just volunteers or are they chosen by city staff or city commission.

Seems to me that before any of us can have an intelligent debate about this the average Joe-Baldwin needs to know who the players are and what their roles are. Could someone please enlighten me?

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p_zinzer 5 years, 7 months ago

Kermie,

The Planning Commission is comprised of persons appointed by the Mayor (and approved by City Council). Which means that they serve at the Mayor's pleasure and if I'm not mistaken there's a city election coming up soon (wink, wink, nod, nod). These folks are essentially supposed to help folks that want to do development (residential or commercial) make their plans conform to the codes of the City, be they construction, safety, or aesthetic.

For whatever reason these bunch of fossils attempt to quash ANY development in Baldwin City. They do this by trying to make developers pave the streets with gold and install platinum sidewalks and diamond gutters everywhere. And, they make sure that every g@d#m!d parking lot is paved over, because you can't imagine the damage to life, limb, and children that a gravel parking lot would do!

I can only think the Grim Reaper could do our city some major good by visiting one of their Planning Meetings. My guess is some of them are long overdue for that encounter.

pz

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ktrendel 5 years, 7 months ago

There will be 3 open positions on the Baldwin City Planning Commission this year and I encourage you, “p_zinzer”, to come out of the shadows and let your intent be known that you desire to be placed on this volunteer board. Thank you for your professionalism and your forwardness in disclosing your identity.

Kyle Trendel, City of Baldwin City Planning Commission

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NanCrisp 5 years, 7 months ago

On a lighter note: Will "shovel ready" replace "disingenuous" as the most obnoxiously overused word/phrase of 2009?

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