County to aid Eudora with Winchester Road upgrade
The plans to pave Winchester Road are nearly a done deal, save final budget approval and deciding on which plan to use for its completion.
Last week, county commissioners unanimously voted to approve $200,000 toward a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for Eudora. The CIP will go toward the paving of Winchester Road, pending final approval in the Douglas County budget.
"The capital improvement plan is just a mechanism that we do for plans for that size," said Craig Weinaug, county administrator. "The decision is really already made. The commissioners could conceivably make changes but they usually don't at this point. What's left now is just formalities."
Weinaug said a date for the public hearing of the county budget would be set on July 26 for sometime in August. He doesn't anticipate any problems with the final approval of the CIP into the budget.
"From (the commission's) point of view it's done," Weinaug said.
Weinaug said if Eudora decides it can't come up with enough money to complete the project, then the money will be allocated to other projects in Douglas County. However the commission is dedicated to Winchester Road if Eudora decides it can go ahead with the project.
"It's subject to change through the remainder of the year if Eudora doesn't come up with the funds or it is more than planned," Weinaug said. "We make changes continually throughout the year based on those projects. The only thing that's not set in stone is that if it's not spent on those projects we can make adjustments and spend that money someplace else."
Rex Burkhardt, Eudora City Council President, said he had concerns a lack of financial participation from the Eudora School District would cause problems in the paving of the road. With the commission's $200,000 commitment last week and close to $200,000 left over from this year's city budget, Burkhardt was hopeful the plan was a go.
"I think there's a good chance it will happen next year," Burkhardt said. "Probably in the summer time."
City engineer Matt Taylor said without the schools involvement, the city has other options. In planning, the city examined three options concerning the width of turning lands, acceleration lanes and different sizes of sidewalks. By minimizing some of the feature, the cost will also decrease from the original estimated cost of $800,000. The Kansas State Department of Education advised the school district that they could not participate financially. It notified the city by letter of the inability to participate, citing they do not "have the authority to spend funds on public works projects."
"Winchester Road is going to happen," Taylor said. "I think if the school's not involved, we might not do the big turning lanes, acceleration lanes, or the big sidewalk. That would put the cost around $600,000."
Additional funding for Winchester Road would also be available from the development of Winchester Ridge Estate, to be located north of K-10 highway and west of Winchester Road. The final development plan for the single-family housing was approved by the Eudora Planning and Zoning Commission and still needs approved by the council.
Lance Johnson, engineer for the Peridian Group, said it has been discussed that Wakarusa Ridge will pay for the road from the center to its property line on the west side for the duration of the estates. Johnson said it would be a prorated amount of money.
"I think it's been planned that Wakarusa Ridge is paying a portion of Winchester Road. They talked about a per lot deal, but I can't remember what the amount was."
The amount will be worked out in the future as the project continues, Taylor said.