riders travel towards Osage City along the Flint Hills Nature
Trail. A long-term project to pave two miles of trail in Osage
City for pedestrian and recreation use was thrown out at the June
28 meeting of the city council.
Wayne White | Managing Editor
OSAGE CITY—Osage City’s planned rail-trail project
has been abandoned along with taxpayer funds of $289,000 and Kansas
Department of Transportation funds of about $1 million after a
decision made by the city council last week.
Osage City Manager Nick Hernandez said Osage City Council Member
Duane Peroo had asked that discussion about the trail be put on
the June 28 council agenda.
Hernandez reported that plans for the project, which were contracted
for design in 2006, are 99 percent complete. In 2005, KDOT designated
transportation enhancement funds to pay for 80 percent of the
construction costs of the project that would have built a concrete
path from 17th Street west along an old Missouri Pacific rail
Hernandez said the city has spent $289,115.43 since the project’s
beginning, including project development and design, and purchase
of adjacent land.
“We’re prepared to go to bid at any time,” Hernandez
said. “With anywhere from $85,000 to $100,000 more, we could
actually have the trail completed, along with all of the drainage
improvements that we’ve talked about in the past, from 17th
Street all the way to the south side of Lakin (Street).”
Hernandez noted in an agenda memo the trail project had been on
hold without penalty from KDOT for the last eight months, while
the city awaited a decision of whether state Highway 31 would
be included in the state’s 10-year highway plan.
About four years ago, KDOT contacted the city inquiring about
why the project had not gone to bid; at that time, it was reported
delays had been caused by survey and title issues.
Hernandez said that in addition to construction of the trail,
the city’s portion of the construction would include remedying
drainage problems in the east part of the city. Costs to repair
the drainage could be as much as $30,000 as a stand-alone project,
“If we do not go forward with the project, basically that
$289,000 has just been for a set of plans and the project will
never be completed,” Hernandez said.
Although the council discussed the drainage issues near the Army
Reserve building and the former Kan Build factory, no discussion
was held on the city’s past expenditures for the trail project.
Instead, Peroo offered a motion that “we cut our losses
and get out from under this thing.”
His motion was immediately seconded by Osage City Council Member
Leroy Stromgren. Council members Linda Carson, Ed Berends, Ed
Mueller, Stromgren and Peroo voted in favor of the motion; Matt
Brewer and Becky Brewer voted against. Council member Loren DeBaun
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