Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Council picks downtown designer

May 25, 2006

After attending an information session Monday with Eudora City Engineer Brian Kingsley regarding state funding for an upcoming downtown beautification project, City Administrator Cheryl Beatty returned to the Eudora City Council with a message ---- the sooner the city can get the ball rolling, the better.

"I'm pushing hard to get everything done so that we would have this done by December 2007 so it's ready for our 150th anniversary," Beatty said.

The scope of the project will revamp the area between Seventh and Ninth streets with replaced sidewalks, curb and gutter repairs, decorative brick walkways plus other aesthetic touch including benches and greenery.

After the information meeting by the Kansas Department of Transportation, Kingsley shared Beatty's drive to get the project under way.

"They have so many projects in this funding program that they're really behind schedule," Kingsley said. "They're telling you that as soon as your project is ready, they'll give you approval to go ahead and advertise for bids," Kingsley said.

The council took the message to heart by tapping Kingsley's parent company B&G Consultants to be the principal designers of the revamped streetscape.

Kingsley and BG Consultants helped the city draft the project application last fall.

The program will reimburse the city 80 percent of the estimated $968,837 project, excluding initial design costs.

"For the engineering design for this project, we've set a budget of $67,500," Kingsley said. "We'd bill that at our discounted hourly rates and use that as a maximum."

Kingsley said his company would keep the parameters of the reimbursement in mind when creating the design.

"This is a very standard contract. It has some language in here that is geared toward the KDOT funding program as to some of the wordings of things we need or that we are going to need that we have to do for that program," Kingsley said.

Although Kingsley's company had crafted preliminary conceptual drawings of the project for a previous beautification grant application, the actual form of the downtown project is still to be molded.

"On a downtown project like this I want to stress there's a lot of public involvement," Kingsley said. "There's a lot of people right on the project and everybody desires their fair share of input."

The next best step for the project would be to get people mobilized, Kingsley said.

"I would recommend that we stay with the committee that helped write the grant," Beatty said.

A citizen committee of downtown business owners and locals ---- including State Rep. Anthony Brown (R-Eudora ) ---- helped refine the original proposal, Beatty said.

"I think we can thank Anthony Brown for encouragement to KDOT to get this project done," Beatty said.

Although a core committee has been formed, the door isn't closed to new input, Beatty said.

"Anybody who would like to join us, we'd be glad to include them on it," Beatty said.

The representatives from KDOT warned Beatty and Kingsley about inflation concerning the project.

"That's the message we got today. The sooner you start, the better off you are in funding and anticipating overages," Beatty said.

Although the funds are budgeted for the 2008 fiscal year for the state, the expectation is cities begin much sooner, Beatty said.

"They want us to construct it in 2007," Beatty said.

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