A busy 2014 in the Tonganoxie area?
Projects could spell better building numbers in new year
The Mirror will take a closer look at what you can expect in 2014 locally in the area of education.
Tonganoxie has experienced modest growth as far as new building goes in recent years.
While neighboring Basehor is recording record building numbers, Tonganoxie isn’t seeing quite the same success.
But City Administrator Nathan McCommon thinks that could change — and as soon as the new year.
“I think this was expected,” McCommon said. “Basehor is just simply closer to Kansas City, Kan., so that’s the population center that is moving westward. And then Tonganoxie is next.”
The Cerner Corporation’s expansion into nearby Wyandotte County in the Village West area at Interstate 435 and State Avenue is expected to have an influence on that expansion westward.
But there are projects that will be completed — or make sizable gains — in 2014 in Tonganoxie.
• The Chieftain Trail expansion already is under way and is expected to be completed in the coming months. The trail extension will more than double the current trail, which is 1.2 miles long. The extension is 1.3 miles and will connect the north side of U.S. 24-40 to the south. Construction and engineering costs total more than $1.1 million, with the Kansas Department of Transportation covering $974,000 and the city $234,500.
• Utility line extensions to the undeveloped industrial park south of Tonganoxie. City crews already have extended portions of the line south along U.S. 24-40. The city is extending water and sewer lines, while Kansas Gas Service is extending the gas line from Tonganoxie to a spot near County Road 1 and Kansas Avenue.
McCommon said the total estimated cost for the project is $900,000, with the city covering $600,000 for water and sewer lines and the Leavenworth County Port Authority the remaining $300,000 for the gas line.
Those extensions could prove pivotal in landing tenants for the park, according to McCommon.
“We are already taking calls of interest,” McCommon said. “That’s been increasing. And the extra bonus the utility extension gives us is to be able to say the place is ready to be developed.”
He said there were some near misses in the past in which companies said they would have located in Tonganoxie had there been utility lines extended to the park.
The city agreed to purchasing the 237-acre tract for nearly $1.38 million in 2008.
• The much-anticipated traffic signal at U.S. 24-40 and Stone Creek/South Park Drive.
KDOT expects to have the traffic signal at the busy intersection fully operational by September, McCommon said. The city’s share of the cost will be about $100,000. KDOT will fund the rest of the estimated $370,500 project.
• Expansion of Fall Creek Villas. Developers just announced expansion of the senior citizen community. The second phase is a 42-unit addition that could have some units finished by April. For more on this story, see page 3.
• Creation of a new park near Tonganoxie Water Park.
Local residents have formed a task force to present potential plans to city leaders for a future park at 301 S. Main. The sons of the late Harry Sr. and Margaret Gallagher donated the property to the city for use as a municipal park.
• Tonganoxie Elementary School. Work has started on the new Tonganoxie Elementary School near Tonganoxie Middle School. Though the new school isn’t expected to open until 2015, much of the construction should take place at the site, which will be home to grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
Voters approved a $27.2 million bond issue in 2012 for the new school.