School board eyes land donation to help with intersection upgrade
The Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education indicated it would donate right of way to help secure a Kansas Department of Transportation grant to improve the U.S. Highway 56/Lawrence Street intersection.
KDOT is currently soliciting grant applications for roadway improvements, such as the U.S. 56/Lawrence Street intersection, along qualifying state and federal highways.
Baldwin City Councilman Robin Bayer said the plan was to probably include a left-hand turn lane for westbound traffic on U.S. 56 and a right-hand turn lane into Bullpup Drive for eastbound traffic.
Bayer informed the board Monday the project was estimated to cost less than $600,000. A KDOT grant would provide 90 percent of the funds with the remainder coming from a local match, he said.
Bayer said the county would pay 60 percent local match, which would equal $36,000 if the project cost $600,000, and Baldwin City would pick up the cost 40 percent or $24,000.
The council had asked the board of education to help with the city’s match.
However, Superintendent Paul Dorathy said the district couldn’t contribute funds toward the match because the improvements would not be on district property.
Instead of contributing money to the project, Dorathy said the district could donate land on the northwest corner of the district’s property for use as right of way.
School board members were in favor of such an arrangement.
“We’re having enough issues with our funding that I don’t want to open a door up where our taxpayers could sue us for spending their money that way,” School Board President Alison Bauer said. “If we could do something, which might be giving the land for the right of way, I think we should look into that. I want to be a good community partner, but we need to be prudent, as well.”