City considers pedestrian and bicycle trail
City officials are hoping to secure funding for a pedestrian and bicycle trail that would link downtown Tonganoxie with the swimming pool and Chieftain Park.
Preliminary plans call for a 10-foot-wide concrete path that would stretch from the northeast corner of Fourth and Main streets north past the swimming pool to Chieftain Park and the school district's athletics fields. The project is termed the Chieftain Trail.
And while an exact cost is something of a moving target, City Administrator Shane Krull said estimates provided by the city's engineering firm earlier this month put the price tag at $341,188.
Federal funds, administered by the state transportation department, would pay 80 percent of the cost, while the city would pick up the remaining 20 percent, about $68,000, Krull said.
At Monday night's Tonganoxie City Council meeting, council members will consider a resolution of support for the project.
If council members find merit in the proposed project, the city would compete with other projects across the state for funding.
"By no means is this a slam dunk," Krull said.
Applications for funding are due Nov. 8, and Krull said he believes the city will hear in May whether it will receive funding. Money would not be available until after the start of the state's fiscal year in July, so it's likely construction would not occur next year.
"For planning purposes, we're looking at 2006," Krull said.
The project also would link existing paths that meander through Chieftain Park and VFW Park with downtown. And if this project is funded, Krull has his sights on another project that would provide another safe avenue for bicyclists and pedestrians.
If the school district's $25.3 million bond issue passes at the Nov. 2 general election, it would be beneficial to construct a path that would link downtown with the proposed middle school on the school district's 80 acres southwest of Pleasant and Washington streets. That path could be constructed down Pleasant Street.
"Of course, that would be dependent upon KDOT still having the program in place in the future," Krull said.
While Tonganoxie school Supt. Richard Erickson said he's waiting to see details about the path, he said safety improvements in the city are welcome.
"I would compliment the city in making any effort to improve safety for our students and citizens," he said.
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