In a reversal from last week’s meeting, the Unified Government Commission tonight approved spending as much as $760,000 for a three-tenths of a mile bicycle path connection at Kaw Point Park.
The $760,000 was the local match for the $2.7 million project, and it was a $250,000 cost overrun from what had previously been announced a few years ago, according to UG documents. A couple of years ago, when it was originally approved, the total for the project was $1.7 million. The other funds will come from federal funding handled through the state of Kansas, according to the UG.
There was no discussion of the issue at tonight’s meeting, and people showed up in the audience wearing bicycle helmets. A group on its Facebook page, bikewalkkc.org, asked people to come to the meeting and to write their commissioners to support the bike path.
The difference between last week and this week was that Commissioner Jane Philbrook was absent last week and did not vote. This week she voted in favor of the bike project. And this week, Commissioner Angela Markley, who voted against the project last week, was not present for this vote.
Voting against the project were Commissioners Ann Murguia, Mike Kane, Hal Walker and Jim Walters. After a 5-4 vote in favor of the project, Mayor Mark Holland voted in favor of the project in order to reach the needed sixth vote.
Last week, five commissioners voted against the project, four commissioners and the mayor voted for it, and it did not pass as it did not receive a sixth vote.
New information provided in the UG agenda documents, but not at the previous meeting, stated that the UG would have to repay $200,000 of the grant in cash for work that had already been done if it did not approve the $250,000 increase. Apparently some of the planning work may have already started.
Last week, some commissioners objected to the amount of money being spent on the project for the short amount of pavement that would be constructed. Also, some of them had objected to not hearing about this cost overrun at budget time; although the project was included in the budget document it was not brought to the commission for discussion before the budget vote.
Also approved tonight was an ordinance and resolution to issue $280,000 of taxable special obligation annual appropriation refunding bonds for the Wyandotte Plaza project. It is temporary financing. Full refinancing of the Wyandotte Plaza project is scheduled for the fourth quarter, according to the agenda.
The UG Commission meeting tonight was about 5 minutes long.
Both the Kansas City Royals and T-Bones baseball teams had home games at 7 p.m., and the Kansas City Chiefs had an away game that was televised starting at 7 p.m.