Tonganoxie moves forward with Washington Street sidewalk plans
After months of discussion, a sidewalk extension along Washington Street that would connect Genesis Christian Academy to the existing sidewalk to the east continues to move forward.
The Tonganoxie City Council at Monday’s meeting approved a maximum of $60,000 to fund the sidewalk’s installation, though city officials anticipate utilizing public works crews to provide some labor and installation could knock that price down to $38,000.
Assistant City Administrator Jennifer Jones-Lacy said city staff recommended that funding come out of the city’s general fund.
The measure actually passed by a split vote, mirroring the initial 3-2 vote at the previous council meeting. Councilmember Jim Truesdell made the initial motion to fund the project at that meeting with the caveat that city staff recommends how to fund the project.
Truesdell, Bill Peak and Kara Reed voted for the project each time, while Chris Donnelly and Andy Gilner voted against it each time.
Donnelly and Gilner said they agreed that it was an important project, but thought the project should be scheduled for the next year’s budget instead of being brought to the front of the line. Donnelly said it’s a practice the council needed to rectify.
“The cycle has to stop before you can start,” he said at the last council meeting. “We’re not willing to stop it.”
Reed, though, hopes another revenue source might be out there.
She plans to submit information about the project to be considered for crowd sourcing, which is the soliciting of funding needs to a larger group. Reed said she plans to submit an application by the end of next week to neighbor.ly, a website that streamlines various projects.
Another Tonganoxie project — funding for a police canine — has been approved.
“This is a project that many people have wanted to see happen for quite some time,” Reed said Tuesday. “So much so that a lot of those same people expressed interest in donating or fundraising to make sure that the sidewalk got done.
“Using a crowd-funding group such as neighbor.ly would allow the citizens of Tonganoxie to partner with the city to help make sure that this project gets done ASAP.”
Leavenworth County partnered with the city to make improvements along the bridge just northeast of Genesis Christian Academy. County crews improved the landscape along south side of the bridge. Dirtwork helped provide a path adjacent to the bridge where the sidewalk and fencing eventually will be built. Washington Street also is County Road 2.
Once the four-block sidewalk is complete, it will connect GCA to Tonganoxie Middle School farther east along Washington Street.
Peak, who lives between the two schools, said the project was long overdue and that it was an important safety issue.
No timeline has been set for completion of the project.