Baldwin City to ask Douglas County to help with BESIC sidewalk project

Baldwin City government Enlarge photo

December 3, 2014

The city will ask Douglas County to contribute to the cost of installing a mixed-use trail from 11th Street to Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center.

The Baldwin City Council set aside $125,000 in the 2015 budget for the design and construction of about 2,000 feet of sidewalk that will link the BESIC campus to the new sidewalk constructed last year as part of U.S. Highway 56 improvements. That project became a subject of council debate in September when city staff asked for clarification of the scope of the project.

At question was whether the sidewalk would be designed as a 5-foot sidewalk as originally conceived or a 10-foot mixed-use trail, such as that installed two years ago east of North Sixth Street. Councilwoman Christi Darnell, a member of the council’s community development committee, received the blessing to continue to explore options, with her assurance she would not advocate for anything costing more than the $125,000 budgeted.

At Monday’s Baldwin City Council meeting, Shane Starkey, the chairman of the council’s community development committee, said Jessica Mortinger, transportation planner for the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, attended last month’s community development committee meeting. Based on her recommendation the project be a network of mixed-use trails in the county, a letter was sent asking the county to contribute to project. He added the Douglas County Commission didn’t act on the request because there was some confusion on how much it was being asked to contribute.

That amount would be $30,000, or the difference between installing a cheaper 5-foot wide sidewalk and a wider mixed-use trail, Darnell said. She said Mortinger would attend an upcoming council meeting to explain why the project should be completed as a mixed-use trail rather than sidewalk.

The committee would meet at 4 p.m. Monday to clarify the amount of the request, Starkey said.

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