Special to The Gardner News
During the public comment session of the April 12 meeting, the Edgerton council again heard citizen concerns about LPKC growth. The council also considered improvements to the trail system and ball fields at Martin Creek Park and downtown streets.
Public Comments on LPKC
Pat Peer, Spring Hill, came forward to express her concerns with growth at LPKC.
“I do think that the development at the intermodal and Logistic Park needs to pretty much stop, for a while, because in four years it’s grown to what was projected to take 20 years,” said Peer.
Peer said things need time to catch up and said the biggest thing was the roads in the area, mentioning the bridge over I-35 at Gardner Road, 199th Street and the intersection of 56 Hwy and 199th as locations needing road improvements.
“You guys have got to stop expanding and let the roads catch up,” she said.
She mentioned other industrial parks in the area including the I-35 Logistics Park at 155th Street and U.S. Hwy. 56 in Olathe, the Lenexa Logistics Centre, warehouses on Lone Elm, and said all of this contributes to more truck traffic.
“I would hope that as the leaders in this, that you would want to know how many warehouses are going in, in each one of those places,” Peer said.
A Gardner resident who lives on Oak Street, near the I-35 and Gardner Road interchange, also spoke.
He said he travels through the the I-35 and Gardner Road interchange almost daily. He agreed that the bridge is not adequate for the growth and is a safety hazard. Sometimes, he says, it can take five or ten minutes to turn on Gardner Road.
He said he’s lived in the same home on the southwest edge of Gardner for 35 years and has watched the intermodal develop about a quarter mile to the south and west of his home.
He mentioned several topics. He said the mill levy has gone down but property tax goes up. He said the schools say they don’t have enough money, but they are installing astro turf on ball fields. He noted such issues were not just local but part of a broad national picture that seems to cater to the “big people.”
He was glad Gardner didn’t get involved with the intermodal and didn’t think Edgerton should be either.
He said the railroad has been doing this since the 1880’s, and they have a “bank of attorneys” who develop unbreakable contracts that are too complicated for any smalltown city council to completely understand. He thought that only the county or the state might have the authority and oversight to deal with big business.
In concluding, he asked if council knew the total of all the bonds outstanding and if anyone at LPKC was paying any taxes at this time.
After public comment period closed, Don Roberts, mayor addressed some of the comments.
Roberts explained that properties that are granted abatement do not pay any property tax for the abatement period, however council is familiar with contract provision for Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) that is agreed upon for the term of abatement.
“So Edgerton does see benefit, so does the county, so does the school district,” said Roberts.
He said the school district is getting $1.2M per year more from the properties than before development. The county gets $463,000 a year and Fire District 1 receives $266,000 in added revenue.
“This project does provide benefits,” he said. “That is a lot of money that is beneficial to our kids and our future and our community, and it’s taken us a lot of work to get there.”
Responding to comments about road improvements, Roberts said Gardner had turned down an opportunity for improvements to the I-35/Gardner Road intersection in the past.
“In 2009 they actually had grant money from Kansas Department of Transportation to help alleviate some of the future demands on that road, that they turned down when they turned down the intermodal facility. They could have been ahead of the game if they had thought visionary and for the future,” he said.
About 199th Street, Roberts said the county is the road authority on most of 199th, and they could make it a ”no truck route,” and had been asked, but declined to do so. He said world class roads have been built on the portions of the road that Edgerton is responsible for.
“Homestead Lane, 191st Street, Waverly Road, are world class roads because we have increased the infrastructure as we increase the expansion of our community,” said Roberts.
Roberts stood by the council’s actions, saying they are always transparent and often make more information available than is required.
Martin Creek Park improvements
The 2015 citizen survey showed high priority on quality of city parks. During the 2018 Capital Improvement Program work session, the council dedicated $150,000 from the LPKC Maintenance Fee for a parks project, with scope of the project to be determined at a future date.
Based on the priorities of a more connected trail system and maintenance of city parks and facilities, staff recommended improvements to the Martin Creek Trail and ball fields. The work proposed in Martin Creek Park would be paid from the allocated $150,000 for 2018.
Improvement to the trail network at Martin Creek Park would cost $122,500 and include removal of existing trail material, addressing and reestablishing the subgrade, installing fabric and 6’ inch of crushed rock (AB-3) base and installation of 4’ inch of asphalt pavement for the walking surface material.
There would be sections of new trail added to connect Martin Creek Park to Big Bull Creek Park that would include a crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross Sunflower Road.
Bob McVey, maintenance tech II, said the proposed repairs to the ball fields were starting small to avoid major expense. The goal is to make them meet the minimum standards of the National Parks and Recreation Association.
The proposed repairs are what staff considers the minimum necessary to bring fields to a playable level. The cost is $22,132.
Scope of work includes laser grading of infields, addition of ball field fines, reprofile the outer edge, addition of compost material to the outfield and capping the fence.
McVey told council that he expected use to increase with improvements and that would bring increased maintenance work along with it.
Roberts wanted council to think about whether or not they wanted to make a long term commitment to bring the ball fields to levels above the modest repairs being proposed now. He noted the city used to have three ball fields but not too long ago had converted one to a dog park.
Each council member commented about taking ball field restoration to a higher level in the future.
Josh Lewis, council member, discussed potential of making revenue from tournaments and liked the idea of more improvement. Jody Brown, council member, seemed to be in favor too and said he would like to see more ball games being played there.
Ron Conus, council member, didn’t think the demand was there to go beyond the basic repairs and maintenance to keep the fields playable. Clay Longanecker, council member, said he might prefer the money be spent elsewhere, but wasn’t against it if the citizens really wanted it.
The informal poll about future use was split but council approved the proposed Martin Creek Improvement Project with a 4-0 vote.
Downtown intersection improvement
The council approved by 4-0 vote an agreement with BG Consultants for engineering services for 2018 CARS Project 4th Street and East Nelson Street Intersection Improvement Project.
This includes major maintenance of East Nelson Street (E. 5th Street to E. 4th Street) and East 4th Street (E. Nelson Street to E. Hulett Street).
The project will remove the existing asphalt roadway and replace it with concrete; remove and replace the existing curb and gutter; reconfigure the pedestrian sidewalk system particularly at the intersection as recommended by the Downtown Edgerton Plans.
Scope of design work includes design of the next block of East Nelson Street (from East 4th Street to East 3rd Street) and design of the parking lot behind City Hall to serve City Hall and the Edgerton Community Museum.