Cities in area preparing for anticipated growth
Growth in Leavenworth County and the immediate area is evident nearly everywhere one looks. To prepare for the continuation of growth, towns in the area are tackling various projects.
Basehor has a number of plans. However, "everything hinges on a wastewater treatment plant," said John Pfannenstiel, Basehor mayor.
The new treatment plant has been needed in Basehor since about 1995 and talked about since 1996. Construction on the plant should begin in the next two or three months, Pfannenstiel said. The project is expected to take from 12 to 15 months to complete.
The new facility will resolve existing capacity problems and provide the capacity for expansion to accommodate development in the Basehor area.
"There will be plenty of room for growth with the new sewer plant," Pfannenstiel said.
The plant will be located southwest of city hall, just south of the city's existing treatment lagoons. The cost of the project is estimated at more than $3 million.
The first phase of the project will allow the treatment of 250,000 gallons per day. The project will be completed with a fourth phase, expanding the amount to 569,000 gallons.
The first phase will allow the addition of 100 homes for the year. Pfannenstiel foresees this new sewer treatment plant serving the city's needs for at least 30 years, depending on the rate of growth.
Currently, the population of Basehor is about 2,200. Pfannenstiel said he could easily see it grow by another 1,000 people within the next five years.
"A lot of folks say that they want this to stay a nice, quiet community," Pfannenstiel said. "We have to keep looking at the big picture and manage the growth. We need to make it an asset and not a liability."
Basehor is also building an apartment complex that includes 35 one- and two-bedroom apartments for residents 55 and older.
Bonner Springs has several projects in the works and has demonstrated a high level of construction activity in the past few years.
Sewer is also a concern for Bonner. Last year the city completed the installation of an ultraviolet disinfecting system at its wastewater treatment plant. The project cost about $585,000.
Now, the city is ready to start a $2.4 million sewer project, called Spring Creek. This will include the Sandstone sewer lift station, storm water detention basin, an upgrade to a lift station and plant interceptor. Weldon Padgett, city manager for Bonner Springs, said many sewer problems have been addressed.
A sewer line will extend east under Kansas Highway 7, where Padgett hopes development will occur.
Bonner Springs' population sits at about 7,100.
"It was stagnant for awhile, but the next five years will be great," he said.
The city also has a $1.8 million road project set up for Nettleton Avenue from Kansas Highway 7 to Kansas Highway 32.
Tourism is also a topic that is and will be addressed in the next few years. With a Kansas Speedway track being built, and a new turnpike exit being developed, Padgett said, the city has much to gain.
To accommodate tourists, the city is looking to develop a new park downtown, Centennial Park. The city plans a visitor's center and a small historical museum there.
Sewer is the focus for McLouth, too.
The city plans to enlarge the current sewer ponds and run new lines to a number of lots in the city, said Glenn Wear, McLouth mayor. The project is estimated at $1.7 million.
"It will be beneficial," Wear said. "We cannot hook up anything else to the current lines unless we enlarge it."
The city recently finished a large water project. This included the installation of a new 300,000-gallon water tank. The city's other tank that holds 60,000 gallons has been restored and remains in use.
Wear called the 70-year-old water tower a "landmark" for McLouth, so the city decided not to tear it down.
During the next five years, Wear predicts that the new sewer will open parts of the east side of town for development. The north side of town will definitely be developed. To the southeast of McLouth, 70 more acres likely will be annexed, he said.
In the past two years, McLouth has completed an extensive water project, drilling two new wells and adding a water tower, renovated the main street with a cement surface and installed new natural gas lines.
Linwood has not seen as much growth as other towns in the area.
Its current project is Peak Subdivision, which will offer 11 new homes to the community. Keith Schelert, Linwood mayor, said that this housing addition should be completed by summer.
The city is trying to annex to the west and north and, in the future, farther west in order to provide for potential growth.
Down the line, Schelert said he hopes the city will build a larger lagoon. He also said that eventually the city will need to consider a new water plant.
"It will almost be to capacity once the Peak Subdivision is complete," Schelert said.
Preparation for growth in Linwood remains in its earliest stages.
"I don't think that we have grown much at all in the past couple of years," Schelert said. "If we don't grow, though, we will get left behind."
Schelert said he hopes Linwood will double in size during the next five years from its present 490 residents.
"Growth is inevitable," Schelert said. "You can't stop it. It's going to happen. Either you grow or you will dry up and go away."