by Mary Rupert
With the help of students from Junction Elementary School, the ribbon was cut today for new sidewalks in the Turner area.
The sidewalk improvements are expected to make it safer for students to walk to school, according to Unified Government Commissioner Angela Markley, 6th District. They also are in keeping with the healthy communities initiative goals in Wyandotte County.
During the ribbon-cutting event, the group walked a short distance on a pathway from Matney Park at 42nd and Shawnee Drive to the nearby Junction School, enjoying the beautiful autumn weather.
About $210,000 was spent on the project from the Commissioners’ Neighborhood Infrastructure Project (CNIP). Commissioner Markley estimated the cost of sidewalks at $100 per square foot.
Under this program, each commissioner has about the same amount of money to spend on projects he selects in his district. The source of the funds is the sales tax approved in 2010, according to the UG. In all, the districts have $4.4 million to spend on projects selected by each commissioner. In the 5th District, the CNIP project was the renovation of the Piper community center, and in the 4th District, it was the improvement of an athletic field.
Since the amount of money can fund only a small project in each district, Commissioner Markley said it was decided in the 6th District to work on sidewalk projects near schools that are in heavy traffic areas, to improve children’s safety in walking to school.
She said she received about 200 responses from her community survey of residents, plus she talked with groups in Turner about their priorities for spending the CNIP funds.
The sidewalks near Junction School are now connected with a walking trail at Matney Park. In addition, new improvements of sidewalks and curbs on 55th, Hagemann to Oak Grove Road, are in keeping with Americans for Disabilities Act requirements. Lighting was enhanced for the Turner community walking park.
Turner historically has been a rural area, changing over the years to a suburban area, where sidewalks were not part of the original plans for some developments.
Commissioner Markley said she is now working on the CNIP project requests for 2015. Many residents have asked about improvements to Key Lane, she said, but after meeting with the Public Works Department she discovered it would cost more money than CNIP could provide. The Key Lane project will be placed on the list for usual UG public works projects, she said.
Commissioner Markley said it is likely that the second round of CNIP funding for the 6th District will go toward similar sidewalk projects.