Archive for Thursday, April 27, 2000

Civic leaders pave way for Winchester Road improvements

April 27, 2000

Winchester Road has been a topic for citizens and city leaders, prompting questions about its future as Eudora continues to develop. Will the road be paved? Who will pay for it? When will the paving take place, if ever?

A cooperative effort by Eudora's city council, school district, the Eudora township and Douglas County commission members may help answer those questions soon.

Last year, the council approved $250,000 for its 2000 budget to assist paving the road. To get the ball rolling, Lawrence-based Peridian Group was hired to construct a preliminary design of three road options. With this in hand, the council can give the group an idea of what kind of road it would like to see constructed.

"We'll show those to the county and the school and get some feedback, and then let the council decide what kind of road they want out there," said Matt Taylor, city engineer.

After deciding on a road design, the real task will be at hand determining who will pay for what. Council member Rex Burkhardt expressed that now was the time for action on the project as the Douglas County Commission holds its 2001 budget hearings over the next two months.

"Once we decide what goes where, then we'll decide who pays for what," Burkhardt said.

Currently, the city owns the east half of Winchester Road; and the west belongs to the county. Burkhardt said approximately $60,000 will go toward engineering and inspecting Winchester Road unless the county decides to pick up that cost by using its own engineers. The remaining funds will go toward the road's construction, with the city to propose the county pay the difference as if it were chip and seal, a standard county maintenance method.

On April 20, Burkhardt went before the school board to ask for assistance in paying for the road, which runs adjacent to Eudora West Elementary. While the board was receptive to the idea, it desired hard figures before committing to any dollar amount. It decided to have board member Joe Pyle represent the board in future discussions on the road.

"In my way of thinking, before we commit to any amount of money we need to know some set figures," Pyle said.

With the school on board, Burkhardt said he has been actively working to arrange a meeting with representatives of the four groups to try and discuss options and bring the road closer to being paved. He said he hopes to have a meeting as soon as all parties' schedules can be accommodated, with a tentative date set for May 3.

"If we can just get that meeting, that's the start we need," Burkhardt said. "I'm afraid if we don't get in there now we'll miss our chance."

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