Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Our view: City should reach reasonable solution

August 30, 2006

Tonganoxie City Council members last week agreed on a new route for a water line to feed the city's third water tower.

A full water tower is necessary to provide fire protection for the new Tonganoxie Middle School, which is slated to open in January.

Without the water line, the water tower can't be filled. And without an operational water tower, the school can't open.

For several months, city council members and residents along East Fourth Street have wrangled over placement of the water line.

But it wasn't just about a new water line. The project also includes building a new sidewalk and a wider street, which means electric transmission lines must be moved.

And in the process, the city wanted to take about 15 feet of the residents' front yards.

Understandably, the residents haven't been happy about that prospect.

City officials, concerned about getting the water tower filled, last week abandoned the Fourth Street route. Instead, they opted for a cross-country route. The new line will be laid through two fields and connect into another water line on East Street.

The new route involves only two property owners -- and both appear willing to work with the city because the line will go through fields, not front yards.

So that problem is solved.

However, the East Fourth Street widening project, moving utility poles and building a new sidewalk and a new water line still are on the table. The existing water line is old, and city officials hope to replace it.

And still, the city and the residents remain at odds over the best solution.

At one point during the many hours of discussion about the issue, city council member Velda Roberts said reasonable minds ought to be able to reach agreement.

And that's true.

So perhaps city officials and the residents can sit down and reasonably discuss the matter. Perhaps they can settle on a reasonable plan that won't obliterate 15 feet of the residents' front yards.

While the yards along that stretch are large, 15 feet is a major chunk of land.

It seems a compromise should be reached that will allow the project to move forward, but not encroach unduly onto the residents' property.

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