Commissioner Angela Markley is holding a special ribbon-cutting event near Matney Park, at 42nd and Shawnee at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, to celebrate the completion of a Commissioners’ Neighborhood Infrastructure Project (CNIP project) in her district. Markley will be joined by the students from Junction Elementary School.
The ribbon-cutting will be open to the public.
New sidewalks were recently completed from the Junction Elementary School entrance along Shawnee Drive, connecting with the walking trail that ends at Matney Park. Although the event will feature Junction’s new sidewalks, Markley will also draw attention to new ADA compliant sidewalks and curbs along 55th Street from Hagemann to Oak Grove Road, and to lighting improvements at Turner Community Walking Park.
“The families of Junction Elementary students are very appreciative of the completion of this project. It brings us comfort to know our students can walk safely to school on the new sidewalks,” said Junction Elementary Principal Kristen Shipp.
Trying to figure out how to upgrade and finance an aging infrastructure has been a challenging and complex debate for many local governments throughout the nation. The Unified Government Board of Commissioners committed $4.4 million to improving and updating aging streets, curbs, and sidewalks in eight districts.
“Sidewalks are consistently a priority for our residents. They are a sign of healthy, family-friendly neighborhoods. But traditionally, there has not been a funding mechanism for new sidewalk projects,” Markley said.
The creative financing for these projects comes from the Commissioners’ Neighborhood Infrastructure Project (CNIP), funded through the Public Safety and Community Infrastructure Sales Tax, which was overwhelmingly passed by voters in April of 2010.
“The CNIP program created an avenue to address this community need, and we continue to look for innovative ways to complete sidewalk projects countywide,” Markley said.
The commission approved a process that allows it to use sales tax revenue to pay for projects commissioners have selected within their individual districts. The funding would be allocated for two rounds in 2013 and 2015, with planning years in 2012 and 2014. The projects are approved by a vote of the full commission. The District 6 CNIP project cost approximately $210,000.
“These projects were chosen after receiving input from more than 200 residents through email and neighborhood meetings and events,” Markley said. “I am proud to have completed projects that were a priority for residents, and that would not have been funded without this unique CNIP program.”
“Our Junction Elementary PTA joins us to express our delight to know our families can walk to night events, such as musical performances and PTA Bingo and Carnival. Several Turner community members, along with the Turner Recreational Commission, use the sidewalks to access the baseball field as teams practice and play games in the evening,” Shipp said.
“Our Public Works staff have been working hard to improve the infrastructure throughout our community,” said Mike Tobin, director of public works. “We appreciate the collaboration from our commissioners and the overwhelming support from our residents as we work together to provide vital community services and programs that continue to improve our infrastructure.”
– Story from Edwin Birch, public information officer, Unified Government