Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

Downtown beautification pushed back

March 22, 2007

Delayed tests by the Kansas Department of Transportation and surging oil prices pushed back the start of a downtown streetscape project.

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty had originally envisioned the revamped downtown corridor being completed by the city's 150th anniversary celebration in the fall, but final approval of reimbursement funds from KDOT made the date impossible.

"The schedule was really going to be pushing it," Beatty said.

Instead of beginning the streetscape project ---- which will be reimbursed 80 percent by a state transportation enhancement grant ---- this summer, the city will start the project in June or July of 2008, Beatty said.

City officials are considering completing a waterline project this summer, Beatty said.

"It was in the best interest because of construction scheduling," Beatty said.

Over the summer months, the city will replace the original pipes currently serving the downtown area. The scope of the project will run from the 700 to 900 blocks of Main Street.

"They're very old," Beatty said of the pipes.

The waterline project made further sense to Beatty because it would have had to be done anyway.

"After you've done all the new development and new everything, it doesn't make sense to go back and rip that back out a few years later," Beatty said.

In addition to the city's transportation enhancement grant, the county agreed to fund a downtown overlay project. The overlay project will also be delayed to next year.

City officials are considering several funding options to finance the pipe project.

"We're looking now to the potential of having our own crews do the work to save the city money," Beatty said.

If the city council decided to contract the work out, Beatty estimated the project would cost the city $300,000.

By doing it in-house the city could reduce the cost to $100,000 or $150,000, Beatty said.

A further motivating factor for the streetscape project came because high oil prices have made it not feasible for the city to do a major chip-and-seal road project this summer, Beatty said.

"We're considering ideas for smaller projects that are affordable within our budget because by tackling some smaller projects, then the crew would be able to do their waterline project," Beatty said.

The decision to use city crews for the project still hasn't been made, Beatty said.

"The only decision made was to go ahead and wait and to do the construction next year," Beatty said.

Beatty predicted the project will go back before the city council in May.

At that time, she will present information for BG Consultants on the project and ask the council whether they want to put the project out to bid, she said.

"There's a lot of different ways we could save money if we do it in-house," Beatty said.

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