Archive for Thursday, June 9, 2011

City council endorses County Road 1055 resolution

The Baldwin City Council voted 4-1 to endorse the preliminary stages of the design phase of the North Sixth Street/Douglas County Road 1055 project. Here, the design plans are shown to residents at a late April public meeting.

The Baldwin City Council voted 4-1 to endorse the preliminary stages of the design phase of the North Sixth Street/Douglas County Road 1055 project. Here, the design plans are shown to residents at a late April public meeting.

June 9, 2011

Baldwin City Council’s three new members voted on their most important decision to date at Monday night’s meeting.

Along with the two other members, the city council voted to approve a resolution that endorses specific components of the preliminary design of the North Sixth Street/Douglas County Road 1055 reconstruction project. The resolution was approved 4-1, with Shane Starkey opposed.

The project cost of the project is $3.4 million, most of which will be split between Baldwin City and Douglas County. The city council plans on paying for its share through the money brought in from the half-cent sales tax resolution that was passed in November 2009.

“Dissention on a governing body is a good thing, as long as it’s respectful,” Mayor Ken Wagner said Monday night. “I thought this was a very respectful and informative discussion. Everybody needs their own opinion here. I’m glad we had this discussion.”

Starkey explained why he didn’t want to move forward with the project. He gave his reasons during the council’s discussion.

“When it was originally started between Ames and High streets, the road was in such despair, you couldn't drive 15 miles per hour down the road,” Starkey said. “That is something that needed to be addressed. On the south Sixth Street project, I believe there was a sewer project involved in that as well. That was something that needed to be addressed.

“On this new project, we’re talking about five to 10 years out before it becomes a need,” he said. “I’m not sold that it’s the right time to be spending money. With us paying for all of the easements and sidewalks, it’s not a 50-50 mix on cost.”

By approving the resolution, the city council endorses the three components. Those are the three-lane design for the length of the project, inclusion of a five-foot sidewalk on the both sides of the road and add-alternate bids that would make it a 10-foot recreational hike/bike path on the east side.

“We have a resolution on some design criteria that we are going to put in front of the council, because we have to move forward with the engineering firms and our staff on how the design criteria will be set,” Wagner said. “When the project goes to bid, the construction companies need to know what the project is going to look like. We have to really try hard to keep the cost of the project within the confines of that half-cent sales tax.”

Wanger said the city estimates $190,000 in revenue from the half-cent sales tax. He also said he hoped to avoid increasing the mill levy to pay for the project, which is set to go to bid in January with construction beginning in spring 2012.

Opponents to the project spoke at Monday’s meeting. Christa Anderson, who lives in the Parkside homes along the west side of 1055, expressed concerns about the scope of the project and whether now was the correct time for it. She suggested the city council delay moving forward with the project and remove the proposed sidewalk on the west side of the road.

Anderson also suggested the traffic on 1055 would decrease after U.S. Highway 59 is finished with its four-lane expansion. Council member Jason Mock disagreed with her.

“I think people in town use 56 and 59 for different reasons than they use 1055,” Mock said. “If you want to get to Mass Street or Kansas University, you take 1055. Regardless of how nice the new highway is going to be, there is still going to be significant traffic on 1055. This isn’t a five- or 10-years project, it’s a 50-year project.”

Other complaints came from business owners along 1055. They are worried there won’t be a route for customers to reach their business next year when the road is closed.

“I’m making a commitment here that I will make sure that there is extra signage letting people know that those businesses, by name, are open for business,” Wagner said. “My commitment to you is that there will be a lane of traffic open so people can get to those businesses. That’s the commitment I can make to you tonight.”


hyperinflate 7 years ago

"to pay for the project, which is set to go to bed in January"

"That’s the commitment I can make it you tonight.”

This paper needs an editor.


jgillispie 7 years ago

Sorry for the mistakes. They have been corrected online. They were fixed in the actual paper, but forgot to be corrected before going online - that's my fault.

Jimmy Gillispie


straub 7 years ago

It appears that Mr. Starkey is the "only" member of this council who has the best interest of the community and business owners at heart!

Let me go to an old saying, "if you don't have the money in the bank, you don't spend it!" Obviously Mr. Starkey understands this concept and he is not anticipating or trying to spend money before it has been received from the increased half-cent sales tax.

As for Jason Mock, seriously this "kid" needs to get his facts straight on the routes people will use from Baldwin to Kansas University ect....

To the community as a whole ~ "if you DO NOT start attending these City Council Meetings your council members and Mayor will push through their own agenda's!" Let's hold everyone accountable and start attending these meetings. DO YOU WANT INCREASED TAXES?


hyperinflate 7 years ago

I applaud the City Council for having planned ahead for this project that has been known and planned for over the last 10 years. They had the courage to call for renewal of the .5% sales tax for infrastructure spending for PRECISELY this project. If it were up to the previous poster, we would never plan ahead in Baldwin City.

Look, it's very simple. If you cannot afford to live in a town that plans ahead, then you should simply go ahead and move out of town and quit wasting our time. I want to live in a community where we aren't ALWAYS reacting to a problem many years after we should have acted. It seems like we have finally gotten to that point only to have a clown like 'straub' walk us backward in time. Starkey obviously is as uninformed and cowardly. Lord help us during his reign of terror.


kermit 7 years ago

I think "the kid" was right on target. People use 1055 as "the back way to Lawrence". Always have and always will. His point was that Hwy improvements on Hwy 59 and 56 are not necessarily going to cut down on traffic on 1055 since many use that route to Mass Street and KU. And I will add as a way to LMH and medical offices.

Jason, you are doing a fine job and don't let the whiners who don't want their greenspace violated get to you. The fact is that the people that are whining the loudest on this should be mad at their home builders and developers of the property ---not at the city. This project has been on the books for years and these homeowner's should have been made aware of it before they bought their homes. Kind of late now to be crying the blues.

Please remember that this community voted on the sales tax renewal for precisely this kind of infrastructure improvement. I know I did. I moved to this town about the time brown outs were common place and the water pressure on the west side of town was so bad you couldn't run a hose and your shower at the same time. I NEVER want to go back to that way of life that was brought on by years and years of city officials who never wanted to spend a time and did no planning. The town was a mess and we are still paying for that lack of foresight.

I say "amen brothers and sister" for going ahead with this project. You did the right thing and we will all enjoy the new road once it's complete.


Torch 7 years ago

I agree in principle with what you are saying about planning ahead. This town has made significant strides in the 15 years I've been here.

That being said I also understand the need to be prudent during a time when costs are spiraling up, people are still out of work, and the cost of living here is already ridiculously high.

You can plan for improvements to your house, but you probably shouldn't do it unless you have the resources to pay for it...and make sure you're not going to need a new car at the same time. As long as we all can afford this and not have something else pop up next month that we 'must' have then I guess I'm for it.


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