Archive for Wednesday, January 2, 2013

City managers discuss plans for 2013

January 2, 2013

The coming year won’t be loaded with new projects for the cities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville, but there will be plenty of important decisions to make and some other big changes.

John “Jack” Helin, Bonner Springs city manager, and Mike Webb, Edwardsville city manager, say there aren’t plans for as many improvement projects in the city as they would like. But there are some things to look forward to in each city, as well as big issues of concern for each city that the city managers hope will be resolved.

In Bonner Springs, the biggest projects in 2013 likely will be the 134th Street Utility relocation project, immediately followed by the Kansas Department of Transportation’s work on putting the new loop at Interstate 70 in the southwest quadrant.

Another big project for the city will be the fourth phase of the city’s hiking/bike trail, from South Park to and through Lions Park, which is planned for construction this spring.

There also will be a few smaller infrastructure projects for the city.

“We will be looking at some waterline projects, mostly repair or replace, but haven’t firmed them up yet,” Helin said.

On the economic development front, two projects that the city gave preliminary approval to in 2012 may move forward: The Village at Deerfield apartments and a second Community Improvement District on the southwest corner of Kansas Avenue and Kansas Highway 7. There is also the project to convert the building at 515 Morse into a senior-living facility.

“The apartment developments and the second CID district all could happen, but there is no way of knowing,” Helin said. “The work at 515 Morse is continuing on the tax credit apartment project and it should be done this year – the new work looks nice.”

One of 2012’s big topics of discussion will continue into the new year: Helin said the city should begin talks with KDOT about amending the memorandum of understanding concerning K-7’s future as a freeway, but of course, Helin said there is no way of predicting how that will go.

Other significant happenings for 2013 include: $360,000 for street improvements; computer upgrades at City Hall; a new Tiblow Transit van if the city obtains some state funding; and a major renovation project for Field No. 1 at Lions Park, with new grass, a new sprinkler system, and a spectator area.

Another bright spot in the city’s finances in 2013: the aquatic park bonds will be paid off.

In Edwardsville, Webb said he would like the city to focus on more long-range planning for the next three to five years.

“We need to discuss items such as supporting our parks through a sales tax and implementing our new street plan,” Webb said.

The city also should hire its first new public works manager this year.

He said specific projects in 2013 will include a rewrite of the city’s zoning ordinance, paving roads and hopefully a few other capital projects.

In economic development, Webb said the city hopes the Jones Development site on Woodend Road will find tenants to build on the site.

Xpedx’s plans to build a 280,000 square-foot distribution facility in the Edwardsville Industrial Park also likely will move forward.

The big topic of discussion lingering from 2012 for Edwardsville will be securing a contract for the city’s ambulance service, whether that is with the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department or some other entity.

Of course, both cities have the potential to see some big changes in this April’s city elections, in which each city will consider candidates for mayor and city council. Bonner Springs is guaranteed one big change: for the first time in 10 years, Clausie Smith will not be the mayor.

Current city council members Jeff Harrington and Jack Knight have announced their intentions to run for mayor.

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