Progress Made for Improvements on Holmes, Red Bridge and Blue River Roads. 135th Street Receives Allocation.
By John Sharp
The City Council appropriated $300,000 Thursday, December 8, to design capacity improvements for Holmes Road generally between Blue Ridge Boulevard and 137th Street.
This project which will improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety and access has been a major priority of the Martin City Community Improvement District (CID), and it is strongly supported by 6th District Council members Kevin McManus and Scott Taylor.
Testifying before a City Council committee on the funding ordinance, Martin City CID Executive Director Missy Wilson said there are potential property owners willing to make new investments along this stretch of Holmes Road once they know how the street is going to be improved.
Funding for this project was recommended by the Arterial Street Impact Fee District G Advisory Committee that I serve on and came from the unappropriated fund balance of the Arterial Street Impact Fee Fund.
The ordinance appropriating these funds also appropriated $300,000 from the same source to design streetscape improvements for Red Bridge Road between Holmes and Wornall Roads.
One third of the money for these projects came from Arterial Street Impact Fee Funds that were left over from the completion of the Longview Road widening between Blue Ridge Boulevard and Stark and returned to the fund balance.
Additional good news for Martin City occurred Friday, December 9, when the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) I serve on recommended allocating $1 million for the third phase of 135th Street improvements from Wornall Road to Inverness Drive for the upcoming 2017-18 city fiscal year.
The funding, which will require final approval by the City Council, will come from funds designated for projects of citywide significance, indicating PIAC members now understand that Martin City generates significant sales tax revenue that benefits the entire city, much of it coming from Kansas residents. PIAC-recommended funds for the prior two phases of 135th Street improvements all came from 6th District funds.
The third phase of the 135th Street project is estimated to cost $3.5 million. The remaining $2.5 million will either have to come from the slightly more than $4 million in 6th District PIAC funds that will be available for neighborhood projects throughout the district or from proceeds from the $800 million bond issue the city manager has proposed putting on the April 4 ballot if it passes.
In other good news, PIAC also doubled the funding for Blue River Road reconstruction it recommended in the city’s 5-year capital improvements plan from $2 million to $4 million.
These funds can serve as part of the local match for hoped for funds from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reconstruct the road which was closed and barricaded south of I-435 and just north of Chestnut in 2010 when heavy rains and flooding caused the fill the road was built on to begin sliding downhill toward the river.
The city has entered into a cost share agreement with the Corps to design slope stabilization improvements at the site of the failure and at other locations that are showing signs of potential failure and to address any environmental concerns. City staff is optimistic that the Corps also will share the cost of the actual reconstruction. Staff estimates the total city share for the project will be $8 million.
Getting both 135th Street and Blue River Road included in the recommended 5-year capital improvements plan should enhance their chances of receiving funding through the proposed bond issue if it passes in April.
The second hearing on the bond issue and the first hearing on a blank resolution introduced December 8 by Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner (that when filled out will direct the city manager to prioritize bond funding for specific projects) will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, December 15, in the 26th floor council chambers at city hall before a joint meeting of the Council Finance & Governance Committee and the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
The hearing also will take public testimony on a 20-year extension of the current one-cent city sales tax for capital improvements also proposed for the April 4 ballot.
John Sharp is the former city councilman and state legislator for south Kansas City.