Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2008

City officials waiting for construction timeline

June 19, 2008

A construction project-scheduling meeting Monday for the downtown revitalization project didn't go the way Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty had planned.

Beatty had hoped to find out the construction timeline for the project to beautify Main Street from Sixth to 10th streets.

Lawrence-based construction company RD Johnson Excavating Inc. told Eudora city officials they did not plan on starting the downtown renovation project for 30 days.

Beatty told them city officials wanted the project to start in June and that they needed a timeline.

Kansas Department of Transportation officials chose Eudora as one of 18 cities eligible for a transportation enhancement grant. The grant will cover 80 percent of the streetscape improvements.

Engineers estimated the project would cost about $1.5 million, and the city had budgeted about $902,000 for its part.

The city had applied earlier to KDOT for the revitalization but was denied because there wasn't enough public input and the price was too high.

A series of public meetings took place in late 2005 through early 2006, and the city resubmitted the grant. However, the state didn't get a response back to the city in time for construction season, so the project was pushed back to 2007.

City officials did not want the construction to interrupt the sesquicentennial celebration, so the project was put on hold until this year.

New sidewalks will be added and new lighting installed for the area spanning from Seventh to Ninth streets on Main Street. Main Street also will be repaved and fitted with new curbs and gutters from Sixth to 10th streets.

At the meeting, Beatty also found out traffic on Main Street would be diverted eastward to Church Street during the construction. However, Church is not wide enough, so parking will be eliminated on both sides of the street

"A lot of our smaller projects around town only affect a small population, whereas this is going to impact a good share of the population," Beatty said. "It starts to splinter out a little bit and affect more people than you realize when you talk to contractors about the traffic plans."

When the city receives a final traffic plan, which should be within the next couple of weeks, those who own property on Church Street would be notified of changes to parking and other regulations.

"We'd like to never have to deal with construction, but things break down and we have to fix them," Beatty said. "Is it uncomfortable? Yes, and we know that. But it's what you have to do to keep things running and to make the town something that everyone is proud of."


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