Street would connect Grant and McKinley
Extending Eighth Street between Grant and McKinley streets has been discussed for some time, but upcoming improvements to the 10th and Grant intersection have brought the issue to the fore.
In May, the City Council approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for the improvements to the junction, with the city being responsible for 10 percent of the $888,888 cost. The scope of the project is to increase turning radii to better accommodate large trucks.
However, this would force traffic detours. Extending Eight Street this year would help with access to area businesses, such as Wal-Mart, and to the Reserves at Trail Ridge apartments on Grant when the intersection work begins next spring.
So, last week, the council authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign the engineering services agreement with the city’s on-call engineering firm, Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, for the work on Eighth at a cost of $47,500 for the design and $7,500 plus expenses for the construction phase services.
But, this is contingent upon Wal-Mart’s agreement to sign the petition for improvements, City Attorney Bob Suelter said.
Suelter said the project will be paid for by a benefit district, with the adjacent landowners participating in that district. A benefit district is defined as the area property owners who have to pay for the street; in this case, it is the property owners along both sides of Eighth.
The petition for a street to be built is pursuant to statutes that allow costs to be assessed to the adjacent landowners. By statute, the improvement may be carried out if a petition is signed by more than 50 percent of the impacted landowners.
In order to build a street, only a petition with the signatures of at least 51 percent of the area landowners can be approved by the council. There is no protest period for the remaining 49 percent.
Between Wal-Mart and Lighthouse Investments of Great Bend, Suelter said the city has the 51 percent. Apartment developers Trailridge Partners has also signaled interest. But, both Lighthouse and Trailridge Partners are waiting on Wal-Mart as well.
The project will be paid for via a special assessment, Suelter said. Owners can either pay all that assessment up front or the city can sell bonds and the owners pay off those bonds through their property taxes.
What they owe is based on “foot front,” or how many feet of their properties face the new street.