Archive for Thursday, July 5, 2007

Council hears K-10 association report

July 5, 2007

Representatives from the K-10 Association reaffirmed Eudora's place as an important piece of the Kansas Highway 10 corridor.

At its June 25 meeting, the Eudora City Council heard from Rich Caplan, administrator of the K-10 Association, and Kathleen Huttmann, an Olathe city councilwoman and president of the association.

Caplan pointed to two major recent developments affecting the corridor.

He first mentioned the establishment of the K-10 Connector bus program, running from Lawrence to Johnson County Community College and Kansas University's Edwards Campus. Johnson County Transit and the Kansas Department of Transportation organized the program.

"It has been used by over 300 people per day, which exceeds even what the transit officials projected, so we're really pleased about that," Caplan said.

Caplan said it was the association's hope the county will continue to fund the program.

"With that kind of ridership everyone is confident that it will," Caplan said.

Johnson County Transit officials were unsure at first if they were going to run the bus program over the summer session, Caplan said.

"It's been very busy over the summer too," he said.

The city of De Soto has been working on establishing a stop near its commercial corridor, Caplan said.

Both Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty and Eudora USD 491 Superintendent Marty Kobza have also made verbal requests for a possible stop in Eudora, Beatty said.

"We know everyone doesn't have to be driving their own car by themselves," Beatty said. "It's never going to supplant the automobile, but it's a great asset," Beatty said.

Caplan next mentioned the 2005 handover of the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant to Kessinger/Hunter and Co. and the International Risk Group of Denver, Colo. (A third partner, , joined the group last year.)

Any development on the property is at least three to four years away, Caplan said.

"That is certainly a high priority for any community on K-10, as you well know," Caplan said.

Johnson County is also looking into a connecting road from Gardner to K-10 to help relieve traffic from a planned truck container transfer yard and warehouse district to be built by Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. Once officials decide the alignment for the link from Gardner to K-10, Caplan predicted a connection from Interstate 70 to K-10 would be the next major link.

"Obviously, it's a long-term road network, but our plan has always been to make the decision today rather than 10 to 20 years from now so cities can plan for those improvements," he said.

The K-10 Corridor will also have a strong bioscience presence developing over the course of the coming years. Planned additions by the school district are part of that presence, Caplan said.

The district will include a $3.5 million technical education center as part of its Nov. 6 bond issue. A key part of the center will be a facility to further the study of biosciences. The center is part of the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education program.

"I think that would be very exciting if that comes to fruition," Caplan said.

Caplan also noted Kobza was recently added to the association's board of directors.

Huttmann spoke briefly about the association and the city of Olathe's commitment to the corridor.

"I think one thing we recognize is the importance of partnerships," Huttmann said.

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