Thursday, December 18, 2014

Capital plan calls for $5.6M street project

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 5/12/2014

Widening and adding turn lanes to Davis Road, between K-68 and Sand Creek Road, would take the lion’s share of $5.575 million identified as street improvement projects in the City of Ottawa’s 2014-2018 capital improvement plan.

The project’s future is contingent upon receiving a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant, Scott Bird, the city’s finance director, said Thursday.

Widening and adding turn lanes to Davis Road, between K-68 and Sand Creek Road, would take the lion’s share of $5.575 million identified as street improvement projects in the City of Ottawa’s 2014-2018 capital improvement plan.

The project’s future is contingent upon receiving a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant, Scott Bird, the city’s finance director, said Thursday.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program provides funding for road, rail, transit and port projects, according to the Department of Transportation’s website.

Ottawa city commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the city’s 2014-2018 capital improvement plan Wednesday night at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa.

“Obviously, that’s a huge amount of money,” Bird said of the Davis Road project. “We wouldn’t be able to move forward with it without the TIGER grant.”

The city should find out by the end of September if a TIGER grant will be awarded for the project, Bird said.

The other large capital improvement item included in Fiscal Year 2014 is the $4.5 million eastside sewer interceptor improvement project, which staff reported was 95-percent finished.

The capital improvement plan is a short- and long-range planning tool to assess the city’s capital needs in the coming years, Bird said. The plan can be used to generate cost estimates for the projects and identify possible revenue sources for those projects — which include grants, loans, partnerships and other funding sources that allow the city to stretch tax dollars, he said.

Bird stressed the capital improvement plan does not obligate the city to move forward with any project on the list if funding is not available, citing the Davis Road improvement project as an example. Rather, Bird said, it is a guideline for future planning.

Some other projects on the 2014-2018 plan include building T-hangars and installing a 10,000 gallon Jet-A fuel tank at the airport; developing pocket playgrounds around the city and making small playground additions; enhancing the Flint Hills Natural Trail and other walking routes in the community; reconstructing portions of Ash Street and making improvements to Cedar Street, as well as various electric, water, sewer and stormwater projects.

The list provides a window into the city’s future, Shawn Dickinson, city commissioner, said, including “some fun things like parks and some not-so-fun things like sewers.”

“It’s exciting to see [plans for] future development of the community,” Dickinson said. “It puts in place a plan to move forward.”

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