Archive for Thursday, November 11, 2010

School board eyes land donation to help with intersection upgrade

November 11, 2010

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.”

Comments

Stacy Napier 4 years, 1 month ago

How can you say on one hand the improvements won't be on district property, and on the other hand say we can donate property that we own so you can make the improvement on it.

Didn't the district pay to make Elm and Bullpup which are now city streets?

0

ksrush 4 years, 1 month ago

The city is asking a strapped school district for help while a week earlier they are talking about GIVING a " development group " thousands of dollars to demolish a building. Are they serious ?

0

kermit 4 years, 1 month ago

FYI--- the city is discussing giving an INVESTOR group a grant to RESTORE an old building. Get your adjectives and facts straight.

0

robinbayer 4 years, 1 month ago

ksrush,

Several council members and the Mayor firmly stated that the City Administrator should approach the School District to ask them to participate financially in the local match portion because the location of the new school along Lawrence Avenue drove additional traffic to the intersection of US 56 and Lawrence Avenue.

The development group that you mentioned approached the City with a proposal that could potentially save the City taxpayers thousands of dollars. The City Council delayed action on the proposal at that time because more information was needed. The Council will reconsider the issue at its next meeting on November 15. Please attend if you can, and I would encourage you to speak at the public comments section at the start of the meeting to express your opinion with regard to this matter.

Robin Bayer 913-645-6666

0

ksrush 4 years, 1 month ago

Are you going to shed light on the 600 High street building finacing as well ?

0

robinbayer 4 years, 1 month ago

ksrush,

The only financing that I am aware of in regards to the plan by the investor group was explained by Mr. Dave Hill at the City Council meeting on November 1. The investor group was asking the City for a $25,000 grant plus coverage of the back taxes on the property. In addition, the investor group would be able to utilize a beautification grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank that had already been awarded to the current owner (who failed to make use of it to fix the building). In addition, the investor group would look to receive a small grant from the Baldwin City Economic Development Council, as a revitalized structure would then bring additional economic activity to the downtown area. The remainder of the funds needed to stabilize and revitalize the building (a considerable sum to be sure) would be provided directly by the investor group. The source and arrangement of those funds would be a private matter within the investor group.

Robin Bayer

0

ksrush 4 years, 1 month ago

I guess the first question is why wasnt additional traffic accounted for in the first place and that built in to the bid for the school. Seems like common sense, a new school means more traffic. I will "firmly state" a heads up, after someone is killed at the 56 and Lawrence intersection you will be frantic to get a stoplight put in so you may want to squirrel some money away for that one as well.

0

robinbayer 4 years, 1 month ago

ksrush,

Interestingly enough I asked Keith Browning of Douglas County about whether it made sense to look at placing a traffic signal at that light as part of this project. I learned that the location at the top of the hill actually makes it a very undesirable location for any type of traffic signal. Apparently having stopped cars from the signal that are not viewable from each opposing side of the hill creates a very big traffic hazard.

Robin Bayer 203 9th Street

0

NanCrisp 4 years, 1 month ago

Well, then, it sounds like the location of this street is not conducive to extensive development, such as locating a school there. I wonder how many examples could be found throughout the K.C. metro area in which high-traffic intersections are located at the top of a hill? The only difference here is that half of the drivers in this area thinks they are still on the highway when they reach this intersection, but the people taking their kids to school think they're still in town. A different route to and from both of the schools in this area is crucial to solving this. Such costs should have been considered way back when this property was acquired. It's not as if there was no other vacant property in better locations around B.C.

0

ksrush 4 years, 1 month ago

How about flashing caution lights indicating a red light ahead. This is like Ground Hog Day - Really nobody could have seen this? Seems like there are bigger issues than a poorly planned traffic route.

0

solo 4 years, 1 month ago

I think I remember the school district did their own traffic study and determined there wasn't enough traffic on that road to deem it necessary for them to make any improvements to the road. Of course that study was done months prior to the actual ground breaking of the school so their traffic count is essentially meaningless.

Of course, common sense said the intersection would be a problem. The county or the state should have required the school to deal with this. FYI--Lawrence Ave is a county road and not considered in the city limit.

I think it's interesting that USD 348 claims they can't contribute $$ to help solve the problem they created because it's "not on district property". Yet that intersection isn't on city property either but the city understands it's a problem and is willing to put some $$ toward solving it. I think USD 348 needs to pony up some cash too if they truly want to be a "good community partner" as Ms. Bauer claims.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.