City, residents discuss plans for Pleasant Street
A few more details need to be worked out before any ground is broken, but in a couple of weeks construction is going to start on the new Pleasant Street sidewalk.
Last Wednesday, Brian Kingsley of BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm, conducted an open house with more than 10 Pleasant Street property owners to get their reaction to the proposed sidewalk.
But while Kingsley was there to answer any questions about the sidewalk, the bigger issue of expanding Pleasant Street and building a new bridge were still at the top of some people's list.
Jim Welter, who lives on Pleasant Street, said his main concern was the city's timeframe for constructing the new street.
"When I got there it looked like (the sidewalk) was just the beginning of the whole complete road project. It looks like as busy as Pleasant Street is, it's going to be an unpleasant year while they do all of the major construction a year from now," Welter said.
Another concern was standing water on the street after it rains. After the rainy weekend that hit Tonganoxie a couple of weeks ago, other Pleasant Street residents at the meeting were interested in making sure there would be adequate storm drains to help channel out all of the extra water.
One man at the meeting jokingly said he would have a beachfront property after a good rainfall.
"Any storm that I can design for can be exceeded," Kingsley said. "I can design for a 100-year storm, something that we won't see in our lifetimes, and it could happen next week. The point is we are doing things that are going to have a positive impact."
Kingsley assured everyone that after the street improvements were made Pleasant Street residents "will not have water standing in the road."
Residents also were worried about where to park their cars while the city rebuilt part of their driveways to make room for the sidewalk.
Kingsley and other city officials assured them the city has OK'd on-street parking while the driveways were being refinished.
What really got the attention of some people at the meeting was the safety of the children as they would cross from the east side of Pleasant Street to the west side.
Because of the traffic coming in and out of Himpel Lumber, the city's sidewalk plans included a crossover from the east side of the street to the west at Sixth Street. From there the sidewalk would continue on the west side until it Fourth Street.
Since the crossover is past the school zone, the school district will not have to provide a crossing guard on that street.
With increased traffic on Pleasant Street over the years and with the increase of street size, something may be needed to make sure Tonganoxie Middle School students stay safe on their way to school.
"Lets keep in mind we are doing this for the kids." said Pleasant Street resident Charles Arnold.
Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal said the school district had kind of forced the city's hand to do something with Pleasant Street after it opened the new middle school.
Vestal said he would be in contact with the school district to work out the details for a crossing guard, but it is something the city will take care of in the future.
Welter, who is new in town said, "It just made me feel good that people are supportive of looking out for the kids instead of looking out for their own property."