|Councilmembers Present||Staff Present|
|Councilmember Pflumm||City Manager Gonzales|
|Councilmember Neighbor||Deputy City Manager Charlesworth|
|Councilmember Jenkins||Assistant City Manager Sunderman|
|Councilmember Kemmling||City Clerk Powell|
|Councilmember Vaught||City Attorney Rainey|
|Councilmember Meyer||Finance Director Rogers|
|Councilmember Sandifer||Development Services Dir. Wesselschmidt|
|Councilmember Kenig||IT Director Bunting|
|Parks and Recreation Director Holman|
|Planning Director Chaffee|
|Deputy Planning Director Allmon|
|Fire Chief Mattox|
|Police Chief Moser|
|Neighborhood Planner Grashoff|
|Stormwater Manager Gregory|
|Transportation Manager Manning|
|Communications Manager Breithaupt|
|Management Analyst Schmitz|
A. ROLL CALL
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Good evening everyone. Welcome to tonight’s Council Committee meeting. My name is Stephanie Meyer. I am a Councilmember from Ward III and chair of this committee. Besides myself, the Committee members here tonight are Jim Neighbor of Ward I; Dan Pflumm, Ward I; Eric Jenkins, Ward II; Mike Kemmling, Ward II; Jeff Vaught, Ward III; Mickey Sandifer, Ward IV; and Brandon Kenig, Ward IV.
Before we begin our agenda, I'd like to explain our procedures for public input. During the meeting I will offer the opportunity for public input. If you would like to speak to the Committee at any of those times, please go to the podium. I will ask that you state your name and address for the record, and then you may offer your comments. So that members of the audience can hear you, I would ask that you speak directly into the microphone. By policy, comments are limited to five minutes. After you are finished, please sign the form on the podium to ensure we have an accurate record of your name and address.
I would also like to remind Committee members to wait to be recognized and to turn on your microphone when you would like to speak so we can get a clear and accurate record.
1. DISCUSSING THE LINKING HISTORIC SHAWNEE FINAL REPORT
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: There are two items on tonight’s agenda. The first item is to discuss the Linking Historic Shawnee final report. The Linking Historic Shawnee Multimodal Downtown Connectivity Plan is complete. The purpose of the project was to identify the best route to connect Nieman Road to the Turkey Creek Trail System in Merriam. Based upon public feedback, the final report was modified to include concept-level analysis for street improvements in the neighborhoods but no trail connection. Doug Allmon, Assistant Planning Director will introduce the item with some background. Chris Cline from Confluence will review the final report.
Welcome, Mr. Allmon.
MR. ALLMON: Good evening. Doug Allmon, Planning staff. I appreciate you having me here tonight. We have our consultant team here as well. This is wrapping up a project, a planning project that started back in October of 2015. Chris Cline of Confluence is here to go over the findings of that study. And with that, I’ll just turn it over to Chris.
MR. CLINE: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to share with you some of the work that we’ve done here recently regarding this project. We’ll give you a brief overview of what’s included in the plan. You may have all received one of these in your packets. And I’ll just go over the highlights of it and we’ll be available for questions if you have any.
[Out Team slide]
Our team included Confluence. We’re landscape architects and planners. We’re located in the River Market and we work with communities on projects like this all the time. Hank Moyers is here with me as well. We had Wilson & Company assisting on the engineering, Trekk with some of the surveying, and Shockey helping with some of the public outreach.
[Linking History Shawnee graphic slide]
This project really started back in 2013 when we started talking about the City of Merriam and the City of Shawnee jointly looking at connections between the two communities and making some improvements through a Creating Sustainable Places grant through the Mid-America Regional Council. That’s where this graphic was generated.
[Project Overview slide]
On the Shawnee side it was really focused on the Nieman corridor. On the Merriam side it was really focused on the old K-Mart site and redevelopment. And we were also looking at connections between the two communities and how to better coordinate efforts and connect and make improvements over time. And one of those ideas that came out of that was the Trail Springs neighborhood that’s just north of Shawnee Mission Parkway and just east of Nieman, looking at an opportunity to try to improve connectivity throughout that neighborhood with new infrastructure and upgrading streets and sidewalks, but also thinking about some type of trail connection or designated bike route for children and folks in the neighborhood to be able to make their way either to downtown Shawnee or over to the Turkey Creek Trail.
As you might be aware in that area there’s a number of places where the right-of-way continues, but the street doesn’t. There’s some dead-ends and some pathways there that we wanted to explore and see if there was opportunities to make some improvements. So, that’s part of what this study was about.
[Infrastructure Investment = Community Benefits slide]
When we look at the age group of the children in the neighborhood in that area, you can see on this slide, looked at some data that suggest that in 2016 there’s about 186 kids in the neighborhood that are school age, and that number is going to continue to be stable. So, over the course of the next five years you can see this chart up there in the green, red and blue. The green represents the future projections for school-aged children. And you can see that in those age groups, 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, there’s a number of kids in that neighborhood that are going to continue to need a safe way to get to school. And so improving some sidewalks, designating some way for bicycling was one way to accomplish that throughout the neighborhood. So, we just wanted to take into account what was happening there from an age standpoint and see if that need was going to decease or not and it looks like it’s going to increase or at least be stable, so the need will still be there.
[Infrastructure Investment = Community Benefit slide 2]
We also looked at some other research that’s been done through the country related to infrastructure investment like this, whether it’s a street or a sidewalk or a trail. What the data suggests is that higher visibility along those types of routes where there’s a designated bike path that there is no increase in crime that comes from that. It actually helps to put my eyes on the street and people are able to -- with more people being out and using that kind of pathway and those sidewalks it’s a better community and neighborhood feeling. You get to know who is walking around the neighborhood, your neighbors. So, there is a good correlation there with sustaining the value of the properties that are there. A lot of times what these studies have found is by improving some of the public infrastructure, sidewalks, storm drainage, curb and gutter, those types of things can be an impetus for homeowners to also make some investment in their property over time. So, they kind of go hand-in-hand. And so what’s the studies suggest and that’s what we’ve seen in practice.
[Existing Conditions slide]
Some of the existing conditions that are out there today, because of the age of when these streets were built, a lot of these right-of-ways are narrower than a typical city right-of-way. A typical city right-of-way is 50 feet. In this case a majority of these streets are around 40 feet. We didn’t survey the entire area, but that would need to be done at some point if improvements were to be made. There are some sidewalks in the neighborhood, I’ll point some of those out. There’s a lot of ditch sections. Very little has been improved from a storm drainage standpoint and there is no bicycle accommodations there today.
[City Standards - Residential Streets]
The typical city street is 50-foot. And the width of that street is a typical 27 feet back to back with a sidewalk on one side. And so part of the challenge with thinking about to apply improved infrastructure, streets and sidewalks in an older neighborhood like this, we felt like that was something that really needed to be explored because the Trail Springs neighborhood isn’t the only neighborhood in Shawnee like that. There are several other neighborhoods that also have that condition. So, part of what we wanted to do with this study was see how we could modify some of those standards to apply in conditions like this, whether it’s in Trail Springs or even other neighborhoods throughout Shawnee. And so part of that was saying, you know, is there an application for these narrower right-of-ways and how do we modify those standards to still preserve the neighborhood character. One of the things that we’ve learned through this process and what we’ve heard loud and clear from the neighborhood is they really like the character of the neighborhood the way it is today. The existing trees, we want to try to preserve as many of those as possible, all of them if we can. There’s a number of utilities that are out there. And so how, taking those existing conditions into account and trying to adapt these standards to fit those conditions to where we’re not removing all the trees, we’re not impacting all the utilities, we’re not creating lots of conflicts in the neighborhood. And so we’ve tried to do our best to figure out how to adapt some of those standards and make them flexible enough to work around some of those existing conditions to try to preserve as many of those features as possible.
[Process + Timeline + Coordination slide]
This study was done at the same time as two other studies were being done simultaneously with the City. Our schedule is there on the top. We started back in October of 2015, wrapping up tonight with this presentation. At the same time as our study, the Nieman study was underway as well as the drainage projects that’s there just on the north side of Shawnee Mission Parkway. All three of those efforts were done in coordination with the City. We worked with City staff to coordinate with each of those design teams along the way. And when we had meetings we would share that information back with the other teams and vice versa, so that we made sure that the recommendations that were emerging from this study and from those other studies all worked together and intertwined.
[Advisory Committee slide]
We did have an advisory committee that we worked with on this project. And we held the first meeting with the advisory committee in the middle of December over at the Civic Centre. We did a brief project overview. We developed three goals with the committee and we got some initial input on some of the alternatives for what we considered a first phase might be, which was trying to designate an east-west connection through the neighborhood that might serve as a first phase for improving the streets and then finding a way to bring a bike path through there.
[Project goals slide]
So, the three goals were related to connectivity, consistency and make it cost effective.
And the first one, Connectivity, “Determine a preferred pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists to link nearby destinations including Downtown Shawnee/Nieman Road Corridor and Campbell Park/Turkey Creek Streamway Trail in Merriam.”
The second one was, “Integrate a consistent approach for the pathway’s proposed alignment and appearance to provide users with a sense of safety, visibility, and directional way-finding elements that enhance the experience.”
And then third was, “Develop a recommendation that is economical to construct and maintain while complementing the existing residential neighborhood character.”
So, those three things were really first and foremost in our minds about how to approach this project.
[Connecting Destinations slide]
I mentioned the existing sidewalks there. You can see in red where some of those sidewalks exist today. There are two schools in this area. One Merriam Park School that’s right there on the south side of 61st Street, just inside the Merriam city limits. And then Hocker Grove that’s just north of Johnson Drive across from Stearns. And that’s really the primary sidewalk system that’s in place today is really north-south along Stearns and then it connects into 61st Street. There are a few sidewalk connections down here to the south and some coming off of Nieman over here on 60th. But really in the neighborhood there aren’t any sidewalks.
[Initial Alignment Alternatives slide]
When we started out this process, and again with the advisory committee at that first meeting, we were looking at lots of different ways to potentially connect east and west. And so one option was coming along 61st. One option was coming along 62nd to the south. And Anna Slocum, the Parks Director from the City of Merriam, was also on the advisory committee. As we’re talking about connections between the two communities we wanted to make sure that Merriam was involved. And through the course of the discussion with the advisory committee there was lots of discussion about this south route and the implications or the lack of being able to make this connection very cost effectively. There’s a lot of private right-of-way along that 62nd Street corridor. A lot of private land that would have to be acquired to allow for trail construction. There’s a lot of auto-oriented uses there on the Merriam side that aren’t the most attractive and aren’t conducive for making it feel safe. And for those and other reasons it evolved to leaving alternatives open here on the Nieman side, but removing that southern alignment there at 62nd Street. There was already a sidewalk in place in Merriam and Merriam didn’t have any intent of trying to find funding to build another east-west sidewalk to serve their residents.
[Recommended Alignment Alternatives slide]
So, it made sense to keep the 61st Street connection, but then continue to explore options for bringing it over to Nieman Road. The other thing that changed was on Roger Road. That was also taken off the list as a result of that first advisory committee because of the number of houses that are on both sides of Roger Road and the number of driveway conflicts that would occur. So, those two were removed. We continued forward with three alternatives, what we call the North, the Central and the South Alignment.
[Community Meeting slide]
And we brought those forward to a community meeting. We had pretty good attendance at that community meeting at the Shawnee United Methodist Church, middle of February. Gave a brief overview and then walked through those three different options. We also made input available online for folks that weren’t able to attend the meeting.
[61st Street Connection - Campbell Park to Melrose slide]
And we’ll walk through these three alignments quickly. On 61st Street there is a need to provide a connection across a drainage area there at the eastern end of 61st on the Shawnee side. You can see right now that picture up in the top right currently there is some cow paths through there where people walk or ride their bikes through there a lot and seen some kids walking to school through that area. So, how can we provide a sidewalk or a trail connection across there that would allow pedestrians and bicyclists to make that connection in an effective way?
[North alignment slide]
On the north alignment, some of the advantages that were found through this alignment were that there were a couple of properties or right-of-way areas that didn’t have a lot of driveway connections. And so minimizing those conflict points with driveways was something that we really took into consideration. So, the one with the going north on Melrose, there’s a little pond over on the west side and there’s a wooden sidewalk there, so that would get improved. And then you would turn west on 60th and follow an existing right-of-way there. It would require acquisition of one house there on Ballentine that would allow that connection to be made out along 60th and out to Nieman, but again minimal impacts to utilities and driveways.
[Central alignment slide]
The Central alignment followed 61st and then came up north on Ballentine and over to 60th.
[South alignment slide]
And then the southern alignment came south on Melrose, kind of a steeper hill there, and then west along 62nd. And then that’s where it corresponds with the drainage project that the City was working on down in that area.
[Existing street conditions - 61st Street slide]
So, those were the three concepts that we carried forward. We talked a little about existing conditions there and how to apply those street standards. And so we asked for people’s opinions on those three alignments, which one did they prefer.
[Bicycle and Pedestrian Integration Options slides]
We also asked the public to give us some insight into this bicycle connection. That can be made a number of different ways. It could be a share the road with bicyclists right in traffic or on the street. These streets carry very little traffic, so they’re very conducive to sharing that pavement with bicycles. Or you could designate bicycle lanes or a multi-use path, a trail adjacent to the roadway, but dedicated to bikes and pedestrians.
[Community Meeting Results slide]
So, we asked for folks’ opinions on those. And so there were 35 folks that attended the meeting and filled out comment cards. We got another 83 online responses. So, your outreach efforts here in the City and the response from the citizenry is really, really good. It’s nice to see those kinds of numbers. It tells me that people are really paying attention and they’re really weighing in and giving their input.
So, the results of those efforts were folks preferred the north alignment for us to further explore. And then they wanted us to explore that 10-foot multi-use trail and see if we could incorporate that.
[Community Meeting Responses slide]
And here are the results of that vote. The north alignment got 32. We asked them to rate it one, two or three, one being their top choice. And the north alignment was the highest vote getter. Central and south alignments were pretty close second.
And then on the multi-use path you can see 59 people said they really preferred a multi-use path over sharing the road. So, 59 to 18 or 18.
[Test - Fitting + Analysis slide]
So, that was really our litmus test of trying to take that direction, the north alignment and some type of off-street trail and balance that with all of the existing trees and utilities and try not to impact all of those. It can be really challenging to try to do that.
[Analysis and Approach slides]
We looked into existing roadway widths and they vary from 18 feet to 27 feet, and where some of those sidewalks exists today. The streets are not always right in the middle of the right-of-way lines. So, sometimes they’re a little bit closer to one side or the other, so we’ve got to take that into account. That’s what these diagrams are about.
And then we looked at all these existing trees. So, you can see all the green dots there. Those are existing trees. That central alignment has quite a few trees along that corridor. The southern alignment has several. That northern alignment doesn’t have very many.
The utilities within the right-of-way, we located all of those. There are a fair number of utilities in all three of those corridors.
[Public Outreach - Ice Cream Event slide]
And based on that we did some additional work and then we invited everybody in the neighborhood to come out for an ice cream event. We had an ice cream truck. We made several stops in the neighborhood right at the end of June and had maps pasted onto the van and made a brief presentation at each stop. And we had comment cards for people to fill out. And then we also had door hangers for those that weren’t home, so to try to drive them to the website so they could get more information.
[Preferred Alignment slides]
This was the map that we used that evening. We showed a preliminary alignment for how that sidewalk could work through that area along that north alignment. What we found was it didn’t make -- there wasn’t enough right-of-way to really build an off-street trail and improve the streets and not impact all the utilities and the trees that were there. So, the compromise that we came up with was a 27-foot street, because it would also be used for sharing the road with bikes, and then an adjacent six-foot sidewalk that would be right up on the back of the curb, but could be pulled away from the curb if needed and go down to a four-foot sidewalk if it was away from the curb.
And then in areas where it’s not adjacent to the street, so you can see there’s a couple of spots here where we’re providing connectivity, that it becomes more like a trail which is what they said they wanted. They wanted this off-street trail. So, this was kind of a blend of the two. They got the feeling of an on-street trail in some areas. And then where it was adjacent to the street it just became part of the street.
So, we had several before and after pictures that we shared that evening. You can see them here.
Public Outreach - Ice Cream Event slides]
And there was lots of discussion at each stop. There was a group of neighbors that came to the very first stop and then they came to each successive stop. I don’t think they had ice cream at every stop, but there was lots of discussion at every stop. And, you know, they wanted to have their feelings and opinions heard as well. So, there were several times where we were trying to explain everything to the entire group. And I understand where they’re coming from. They didn’t want the character of the neighborhood impacted.
So, as a result of counting up all of the comment cards that we received, we received 46. It was about a 50/50 split, those that were supportive, and those that were against.
The online results, we only had five. We had eight total, but one person input their response three times. They added some additional comments over time. So, it was five. And 80 percent of those were supportive, 20 percent of those were against. And some example comments, you know, scrap it, we’re concerned about the loss of privacy in a residential area, that we don’t want more traffic to, hey, the more they connect the better, we’re all for it. We hate to see kids walking through the brush. Very happy, hope this gets done. We’ve included all of those comment cards and everything in the report, too. So, if you’re interested in seeing all of those, they’re in here.
[Phase 1 Connectivity Improvements slide]
And then that Phase 1 Connection again was along that 61st up to 60th Street using Melrose to connect to the north.
[Connectivity Improvement Opportunities slides]
Since then we’ve finished up the final renderings to show these before and after pictures of what that connection could look like.
[Overall Neighborhood Connectivity Improvements slide]
And then we also looked at the overall neighborhood connectivity throughout the entire neighborhood. So, not just focused on that one corridor. We mentioned before improving connectivity means improving the sidewalk connections everywhere not just on one street. And so again taking into account all the streets that were there, we looked at coming up with a, again adapting that 50-foot right-of-way standard to a 40-foot right-of-way standard. The idea would be that those city standards would be narrow. The streets could be narrowed to maybe 24-feet or so. And the sidewalk could either be built up adjacent to the back of curb or could be pulled away from the curb to preserve some trees.
[Connectivity Improvement Opportunities slide]
So, we did some before and afters in other parts of the neighborhood just to show what those conditions could look like. And then some typical sections, this is what it looks like today.
[Overall Neighborhood Connectivity Improvements slides]
This is what it could look like the future with the sidewalk adjacent to the curb or pulled away from the curb.
[Overall Neighborhood Connectivity Improvements cost slide]
And then some preliminary estimates on the overall cost for improving that. These estimates only took into account, kind of preserving the existing pavement that’s there, adding to it, maybe doing an overlay and just adding on to put in storm drainage. It wasn’t a full and complete replacement of the entire street. But this gave an indication block by block of what those costs might be in order for budgeting purposes and for the City to consider whether they wanted to make improvements here or in other parts of Shawnee.
So, with that, that’s an overview of the study, and I’ll hand it over to Doug to kind of wrap up for us.
MR. ALLMON: Thank you, Chris.
[Staff Recommendation slide]
In terms of a recommendation, as you guys know a lot of things have changed since October of 2015. There has been an accelerated phasing of several storm drainage projects in that area. Part of that, the southern drainage project actually has a bridge that’s going to connect Nieman to 62nd Street behind the post office. And based on that, at this time staff would recommend that we not pursue further trail improvements in the study area. Secondly, we would just ask that the Committee favor, recommend -- that we would recommend that the Committee accept the Linking Historic Shawnee Connectivity Plan and forward that to the full Governing Body for acceptance.
I’d open it up for discussion.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Thank you, Doug and Chris. Is there any discussion from the Council? Mike and then Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: I had a question real quick about the citizen online results and the meeting. In the graph you showed you said that there were 83 online and roughly 35 in person. And yet I don’t see any of these results having more than like 85 responses. Were there a bunch of people that didn’t vote or give feedback at these meetings?
MR. ALLMON: There were some that weren’t filled out exactly right. So, if asked you -- did everybody hear the question okay? The results of -- if it asked people to rate one, two or three, sometimes folks would just put a one next to every one of them. And so there were some discrepancies there, but they’re all in the report as well. So, we tallied up the ones that they looked like they scored it and answered it.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Because when I look at this on the preferred alignment, I’m assuming everyone at least put a one down. And like you said, maybe they didn’t put a two or a three. But when I add up all the number ones, it’s still only 87 responses out of 118 people.
MR. ALLMON: We took the results that were in there. And that was the direction that we got that night, so I --
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay.
MR. ALLMON: -- don’t know where the discrepancy is coming from.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Out of the 87 that got counted, any idea of how many were people at that meeting and how many were online?
MR. ALLMON: Of the total 87?
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Uh-huh.
MR. ALLMON: There were 35 that filled out comment cards that night.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Right. But I guess that doesn’t add up. Because if 35 did it that night and we have 87 total responses and you said we had 83 online.
MR. ALLMON: Uh-huh.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: So, I’m trying to figure out how those numbers jibe.
MR. ALLMON: I can go back to it.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Yeah. That’s the one. So, if I add up on that first one 27, 28 and 32, unless I did it wrong that’s 87 responses, that marked a Number 1, right? Because we’re not going to assume someone doesn’t put a one, but puts a two and a three.
MR. ALLMON: Yeah. So, the one, two and three, if you look at the south alignment, 27 plus 12 plus 49, that would give you the total number that filled it out.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Right. Yeah. So, like I said --
MR. ALLMON: So, 27 plus 12 plus 49 is --
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: So, even looking at that graph, even if we take all three responses, we’re nowhere near the 118 you had, so.
MR. ALLMON: I don’t know if everybody didn’t fill it out fully and that’s why it wasn’t counted.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay.
MR. ALLMON: We took into account the ones that we received and that’s what we scored. Not everybody filled it all out.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay. It just seems odd to me that we have 83 online responses and what looks like 83 --
MR. CLINE: Some of those I believe came from duplications from the same IP address.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay.
MR. CLINE: We got IP addresses and there were duplicates on a lot of them and those were pulled out.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay.
MR. CLINE: Some people voted up to 12 times, so that could be part of it.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay.
MR. ALLMON: Was everybody able to hear that? So, basically when you do the online surveys it takes into account an IP address. So, sometimes you’ll get several responses from one IP address.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Right.
MR. ALLMON: And so in some cases he said there were 12.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay.
MR. ALLMON: So, we figured the maximum of two from any one IP address. It might be a husband and wife or --
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Right.
MR. ALLMON: -- or two people that resided there. So, it was trying to kind of take into account two votes from each IP address that occurred. So, I think that’s where some of the duplication came from.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay. So, are we saying 83 unique IP addresses?
MR. ALLMON: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay. So, that already factored out the extras.
MR. ALLMON: Right.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I just had a question for Doug concerning the recommendations. I mean, if we -- the recommendation was that we forward the report onto the Governing Body. And what does that mean? Does that mean we accept it as is or we would like to see it modified?
MR. ALLMON: I think the idea is that we’re just simply going to accept the report. We’re not going to act on the report. Obviously if you have input in terms of amending the report, we would ask for some discussion of that tonight and then probably more discussion at the Council meeting.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: In that case I’ll discuss it tonight then. There’s three items that really concern me about the project. One is that there are people that live there that are going to be most affected by the project. It’s actually going to affect their homes and their yards and driveways and so on. There seems to be a pretty strong push-back, and I think that’s cause for alarm. I mean, shoving a project down somebody’s throat when they really don’t want it. They’re the hosts of the project basically coming through their neighborhood. And I just have some problems doing that. Another issues I have is that it was presented to us that this project, at one time, was going to take the southern route. And we were doing this massive drainage project and, gee, guys, it would be a really great idea if you had approved this nicer drainage project, which was an additional $1.2 million, so that we could have a nicer water course down there, concrete water course down there. And we -- I heard things like, gee, kind of like San Antonio River Walk. And, you know, it would have this ambiance so people could walk along this nice waterway and so on. And so we said, okay, let’s do it. Let’s spend $1.2 million for this drainage project and then it’s like, oops, no, we’re not going to go there, we’re going to go up here. Well, why did we waste the $1.2 million when we could have got a perfectly adequate drainage facility built there for less? It wouldn’t have looked as nice, but it would have done the same job and we could have saved the City quite a bit of money. So, that kind of alarms when we kind of do that kind of stuff. We say we’re going to do something and then we don’t do it and we’re right back to, you know, spending more money than we needed to.
The other thing that kind of bothers me about it was we also talked about the southern route being much more desirable because the way it came into southern, or actually, yeah, the southern portion of Nieman, pedestrians utilizing that connectivity to Merriam, then coming up Nieman, would pass by a whole lot more shops and businesses and so on which would be a plus because there would be more exposure to potential customers using those facilities or those various businesses as they moved toward downtown Shawnee. And so that was sold also as a positive. But that made sense as a positive, yeah, okay. Yeah. They’re coming up Nieman Road. They would be passing by more shops and various businesses and that gives more exposure to the store fronts and that’s kind of a good idea. So, here we had those positive things associated with the southern route, and then we didn’t do the southern route. So, that’s kind of giving me some cause for concern.
MR. ALLMON: Well, I think I can answer that. Part of that is the timing of this grant. We actually wrote this application in 2014. Honestly I think that preceded any thought of doing that northern or central drainage project. And so the way this scope and this grant was put together was to find a connectivity plan, analyzing several different routes and that was the idea from the get-go when this grant was put together. We vetted -- part of the process was to vet the public, to have them “robustly engaged” is the term. We did that. And I think we heard loud and clear that you’re right, they did not want this impact on their neighborhood and that’s why we’re actually backing off on the recommendation.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: But when we approved that drainage project down there with the improvements to the drainage project, upgrade the quality and the appearance of that drainage project, those three routes were already proposed. They all three existed at that time because they had already been presented. Those three had been presented and we were aware of them when we made that vote that night, so.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I would just jump in quickly and say that, unless I am wrong, I think a big impetus behind the drainage plan and the upgrade and doing kind of the nicer more attractive option was more to do with the commercial development we were working on along Shawnee Mission Parkway and less to do with this trail project.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, I have to respectfully disagree. That wasn’t even brought up as part of the discussion.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I totally disagree. I’m sorry, that’s not right.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: We talked about river walk and facilities along that and making it a scenic waterway walk.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Sure. Yeah, Eric, we did, but we did that in conjunction with the Stag’s Creek development. That was happening as that project was all -- the conversation was singular. That all happened at the same time.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. But why we do tend to disagree on that because the drainage project would have solved the Stag’s Creek development problem. It took care of the hundred-year storm. Upgrading it and making it look pretty was totally associated with this trail. That’s where that was -- that was sold as part of the -- that’s how it was sold.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: That’s not right.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, I was here and I think it was. So, I’m sorry I have to disagree with you, but I do disagree with you. That was marketed that night to upgrade -- let’s upgrade this water conveyance channel and go from this V-channel to this much nicer box channel because, hey, we can kind of visualize where this is going to fit in with that trail we’re proposing. It’s going to make it a really nice much more scenic walkway. And that sold that. That’s why that project sold that additional improvement because it was presented in that manner. It had nothing to do with Stag’s Creek. The drainage improvement project solved -- allowed for Stag’s Creek.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric, it was all --
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: There was an additional, I want to say $2.1 million that was specifically related to realigning the creek because of the Shawnee Mission Parkway development. That was the primary impetus for that creek project. And then as part of that creek project we said, as long as we are doing it and we’ve done this work about the trail, let’s do it nicely and do a trail along it. But the alignment was the --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Exactly. That’s what I’m talking about. We were already good to go with the drainage project.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: No.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: No.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, we were -- all right. I guess we’re mincing words here. The drainage project was presented to this Council. And let’s get down to facts here. It was presented to this Council and there was a specific cost associated with that, what would take care of the drainage problems we were currently experiencing and it would solve that problem. And, oh, by the way, since we’ve got this trail going in down here and we can kind of make it look a little nicer, how about we sweeten the pot and throw in an extra couple $1.2 million. That was how that was sold. Let’s get real. That was how it was sold. The project, the drainage project was not just presented as a basic drainage project, it was presented at first. But then this other add-on came because of the trail and all this neat stuff and it would be a great project and it would be really cool. That’s how it was presented. And I beg to disagree with anybody that says differently than that because that was the way it was presented.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric, I’m just going to have to disagree with you. And I apologize if maybe your memory is different than maybe the majority of the Council, but that entire conversation was centered around the development along Shawnee Mission Parkway. I think that any benefit to the trail system was an ancillary benefit. Probably it was discussed at the time. But the entire motive behind that conversation and the upgraded drainage plan was specifically for the commercial development on Shawnee Mission Parkway.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, we’re failing to communicate. That’s unfortunate. But we are failing to communicate because we’re not really in as big a disagreement as you think. The project itself, to solve the drainage issues was presented. And, oh, by the way, we could plus that up, which had nothing to do with Shawnee Mission Parkway, the plus up. The project itself was exactly for that, to solve the drainage issues, to solve the flooding problems. And we were going to have to buy out houses. We had all this stuff and we were going to do a good job and we’re going to solve the hundred-year flooding problem in that area. And that’s what was presented. The other part really was an addendum, making it look nicer and be nicer had nothing to do with the utility of a valid stormwater project that was going to solve the problem and facilitate the development of Stag’s Creek and other developments along Shawnee Mission Parkway. So, they really are two different things and that’s what I’m trying to delineate here is they were two separate proposals. The basic proposal, which would have the approval of this Council, and my approval as well, was the drainage project to solve the flooding problems. This other idea came up, and it did come up because of this trail. Nobody remembers talking about river walk and all that stuff? You guys weren’t here that night or what?
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. We discussed it.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: That’s what we talked about. And that was an amenity that was added to the drainage project, period. It was an amenity. It didn’t approve the project in terms of its conveyance capacity. It didn’t improve the project in terms of anything from an engineering standpoint. It approve the appearance of and the appearance of question tied into the concept of having a scenic trail and this kind of stuff. That was how it was marketed to this Council. Anybody -- I can’t believe you guys didn’t hear that. You were here like I was. So, I --
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric, yeah, we were here. And I apologize that I continue to disagree with you. But regardless of the drainage project it’s been passed and we’re discussing the trail project right now, so I would ask that maybe we redirect and move on. Okay. Is there anyone else from the Council? Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: My concern is that we’re moving this forward with a recommendation to do nothing. I mean, we spent so much time on this Nieman Road corridor. And the whole idea was the whole connected cities, connected neighborhoods, connected everything and now we’re not connecting it. So, you know, I’m not ready to throw in the towel that quick. I understand there’s people that don’t want it. But the same people that have been asking for road improvements and curb and gutters in their neighborhoods and street improvements, so I don’t understand. I mean, it’s -- I don’t know. I mean, we only want this, but we don’t want that. Or we want this, but we don’t want other people to use it. Or, you know, we want our sidewalks, but we don’t anybody from outside of our neighborhood to come through our neighborhood. So, I don’t know what we’re doing here. I mean, we’re trying to create an environment that is conducive to a new generation. And we can all sit here and say we don’t want certain things. But the reality is if we don’t do certain things the younger generation is not going to move to Shawnee. They’re going to move to the other cities that are making bold moves and doing things that are conducive to millennials and next generation of people that those are the amenities they want. And if we don’t provide them, then we’re going to fail as a community. So, the stuff we argue about up here, it just amazes me. It just amazes me. I mean, we’re sitting here talking about, you know, arguing over, wow, this trail was -- it was sold as this, it was sold as that. Where the reality is, is we should be sending far more on it and doing a really cool neat amenity and attraction down Nieman Road that would actually draw people to it, but we can’t because the reality is nobody would spend the money. We would argue about that right and left and nobody would -- nobody would think that that makes sense. So, you know, we have -- the trail in Merriam, it’s a great trail. I’ve been on it many times. And then you’ve got complete improvements, bike lanes from Merriam Lane all the way to downtown now. So, you know, the reality is it’s an opportunity for us to connect our downtown. To be able to jump on a trail, jump on Merriam’s trail, jump on Merriam Lane, hit Merriam Drive and all the way down you’re on a bike lane. Once you get off the trail then you’re on a bike lane literally to downtown, to the Crossroads, to all the areas that all the cool happening stuff is that millennials want. They don’t all want to live down in the city, but they want to be connected. And we just sit here and it just amazes me. And we argue of this insane stuff instead of taking the bold move and saying, no, we need to do this. We need to make this happen. And I don’t know. I’m frustrated that we have a recommendation that says let’s do nothing because that doesn’t make sense to me. We’ve spent too much time on this, let’s do something.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jim, Dan, Brandon.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Well, Brandon was before me also, so I don’t know who was first.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: You guys can flip a coin there. How about Brandon and then Jim and then Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Thank you, Dan. So, a couple of items. So, quick thing about the storm drainage project. We discussed that around a number of contexts, including aesthetics. But I recall primarily we were looking at the upgrades being in the context of being able to narrow that so we could increase the setback for more land to be developed by potential commercial office development. So, I know from what I recall that was the main discussion point there. And second, I understand that due to existing projects and stormwater and funding issues, you know, we’re, you know, basically put this on hold. But I would suggest that we at least recommend taking this back up and reconsidering it at a later date. At least opening the discussion instead of just indefinitely putting it on hold, particularly because of the extent of the conversations and neighborhood meetings that went into this. Because I’m positive that at some point members of the public are going to ask about this. And, oh, you know, well, I remember going to two of those meetings and, you know, our input was solicited and I did the survey, whatever happened with that. And I don’t know if it’s a good answer to just tell them, oh, you know, well, we just kind of closed that indefinitely. I think we should have some kind of plan, even a generic plan for reopening it.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. First of all, I’d like to just say thank you very much to all of the volunteers who were part of the advisory committee, from whatever your background. We certainly appreciate your time and efforts in coming and participating in this. I would also thank all the citizens of the area that put in their thoughts, whether it was for or against. Thank you very much for taking the time to do it. I would echo some of what Brandon said. You know, we spent a lot of time doing this. And as Mr. Allmon said, when this all started there has been a tremendous amount of change and other events have transpired that puts this, perhaps limbo is not the right word, but that’s sort of where it is, because I think we’ve done the work, we’ve spent the money. And I would support taking it and putting the study on the shelf, if you will, with the idea that we will bring it up again sometime in the next 24-36 months as these other events transpire. Because there are going to be things that happen which will shed new light on this whole situation, and then we can come back and revisit it. Do we do it? I don’t know. Do we not? I don’t know. But I would like to keep the option open going forward. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I’ve got to back Eric up a little bit. We did talk about a trail along. It’s not part of the, maybe or maybe not it wasn’t part of the sales project or sales pitch for this particular trail. But it was talked about at that time about being like the river walk and all that kind of stuff. And so I would think that those businesses along Shawnee Mission Parkway would want that. And before we go too far about tabling anything, I know there’s a bunch of people here. I think that -- I went to the February meeting. And there was I guess 35 people there. And I talked to quite a few people there and I don’t think that people were opposed to a trail, I think they were opposed to a trail going right through their yard. And if you look at the southernmost route, you know what I mean, and not going back up Rogers or whatever, you know what mean, jumping over the little creek right there, I think you could eliminate a lot of your right-of-way issues and things like that. And anyway, if we could listen to the people before we take a vote on this and --
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: That’s typically how it goes, yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: So, before we have all of our discussion, we probably need to get their input because out there is a lot of input.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Sure. What we have always done is kind of had initial discussion --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I understand.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: -- and then opened it up. So, I was just waiting for you all to conclude your initial comments. I promise.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: All right.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. Is there any discussion from the Council before we open it up to the audience? Okay. Is there anyone in the audience who would like to this item? Okay. Sir, I’ll have you -- okay. Ma’am, if you’d like to come up. Sure, come on up. And if you’ll state your -- okay. Well, ma’am, if you could come up so that we could get you on the audio for the recording that would be appreciated. And if you just want to state your name and address for the record that would be great as well.
MS. KRAFT: My name is Phyllis Kraft and I live at (Address Omitted) on the corner. The young man said millennials wouldn’t want to move in there. We just had two new millennials move in just within the last month. And three of them take over, not three, one of them take over a house and redo it. So, I don’t think millennials are concerned about sidewalks as much as you think they might be. Secondly, if you want to tear up a quiet beautiful neighborhood, then you do what you proposed. You put in sidewalks and so forth and so on. Now, it isn’t that people don’t want people walking because people walk through there all the time on the street and at the side of the street. It isn’t that they don’t have a place to walk, they’re enjoying walking. But if you take the amount of land that you’re talking about from my property on either side because I’m on a corner, you’ve reduced the value of it by about $50,000. And I don’t think that’s fair either. And that’s about all I have to say.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Thank you, ma’am. If you would sign the --
MS. KRAFT: Oh, one other thing.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah.
MS. KRAFT: I did not know, nor did any of the people in my neighborhood know about the meeting in February. No wonder he had 35 people wanting it. He didn’t have anybody there that didn’t want it.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, ma’am. If you wouldn’t mind signing the form on the podium there just to record your attendance.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I do have a question for you, ma’am.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, ma’am. I believe Councilmember Pflumm has a question for you.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I was wondering if you had any opposition to the southernmost, you know, route which really doesn’t go through very many yards at all?
MR. KRAFT: No. I didn’t hear any complaints about the southern route and really not about the central one. But all I’ve heard from neighbors is complaints about the northern one which screws up and ruins 61st Street and Melrose, and I don’t know how many houses. They said something about, well, they’d buy the houses. Great.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, ma’am. Sir, if you would also state your name and address for the record.
MR. VANLANDINGHAM: Yes. My name is Mike Vanlandingham. I live (Address Omitted). I moved in there in 1973. I’ve been there 43 years. And I’ve always been extremely happy in my dealings with the staff from the City of Shawnee. I’ve never had a problem in 43 years. I’ve been extremely happy with them. We did have one issue in this neighborhood in the 70s when there was a proposal to open Melrose Lane from Shawnee Mission Parkway to Johnson Drive and we ended up going to court over that one and that one was finally dropped. And the issue was essentially the same. We like our neighborhood like it is. I didn’t know about the February meeting either. In fact, I didn’t learn anything about this until June. And when I saw the -- I get all the online -- I’ve signed up for all the e-mails that I can get from the City and all your agendas and your committee agendas and I read them all to see if there’s anything that affects me or my neighborhood. And somehow I missed that. So, I missed that meeting in February. The first thing I saw was when an e-mail that I got from the City that showed this map. And what it showed was, what the map appeared to be taking my driveway in its entirety. So, I immediately came down here and spoke to Mr. Allmon and Ms. Grashoff. And I have to just say that they were tremendously responsive to me and very reassuring and I was very happy with them. So, I went away from that meeting and thought, well, as long as they’re not going to take my home away from me I’m happy and, you know, I’m fairly neutral on this until I started talking to my neighbors. Now, my neighbors are not the entire Trail Springs neighborhood. I want to tell you where I count my neighbors starting. And I asked the consultant to put this map up. I’m talking about from 61st and Stearns where this trail starts in Shawnee. Is that right, 61st and Stearns? Right. And then it goes west to Melrose and then it goes north to 60th. And then it goes from 60th I guess to Nieman. But my neighborhood only goes as far as Larsen Lane. I walk my dog in there daily. And I have collected signatures on a petition against this that includes every home on that route that I just showed you except for two. And I haven’t talked to those people yet because I’m hearing that this thing is pretty much dead. But I’m pretty sure I can get signatures from those two also. And like I said, I was neutral on this. But as I talked to my neighbors they pointed out to me there are no through north-south streets in the Trail Springs neighborhood except for Nieman. Nieman Road is through from Shawnee Mission Parkway to Johnson Drive. Ballentine is not. Larsen Lane isn’t. Goddard isn’t. Melrose isn’t. Stearns isn’t. You’ve got to go clear over to Mastin in Merriam to find another route that goes north-south through this neighborhood. There are no east-west thoroughfares that go all the way from city limits to Nieman Road in our neighborhood. And that makes a very unique neighborhood and Mrs. Kraft said. And I’ve lived there 43 years and I’m here to tell you we like our neighborhood like it is. It’s a neighborhood of cul-de-sacs. It’s a neighborhood of low traffic, very few -- I’ve got a daycare center within two houses of me. Those kids at that daycare center, their playground is the street in the cul-de-sac there. You know, and we want our neighborhood to stay the way it is. So, the goal expressed here is to improve connectivity. No, thank you. We don’t want connectivity. And, sir, I’ve been here 43 years. I’ve not asked for any improvements. I’ve not asked for a sidewalk. I’ve not asked -- I know some people in my neighborhood have and I support them. But I ask you to leave our neighborhood alone. We don’t want connectivity in there. And the consultant said here in his presentation to you, we heard very clearly that they like their neighborhood just like it is and he went on to talk about trees. But I don’t think he spoke about this issue that I’m talking about, the fact that we don’t have a lot of traffic and kids can play in the streets in our neighborhood. That’s what’s more important to us. We like the neighborhood like -- and again, I know the young couple that she’s talking about that moved in at the corner of 60th and Melrose. Another young person just bought a house there. We’re attracting young people into our neighborhood. Where I walk on Ballentine there are people buying houses and improving them. I believe Mr. Heide, is that your name? He took a totally wrecked house and is really improving it. So, I don’t know that that’s an issue. The other -- I have to tell you the other thing that bothers me about this. Like I said, for 43 years I’ve had nothing but excellent service from City staff. And I feel like there’s been misrepresentation. Not by City staff, but by the consultants here. And I’ll tell you why. So, there were 35 meeting attendees. Then there were 83 online comments. Well, the consultant -- when the consultant -- the first time I got involved was when the ice cream truck came around. And the consultants in those three meetings said that the online survey was overwhelming. Well, we had read the consultant’s report. The online survey was not overwhelming as you pointed out. 32 to 28. So, a couple of us went to one of the consultants. Between the meeting we said, hey, look 32 to 28 is not overwhelming. Yes, it is he said. Well, your report says it was very close. And obviously you can read the results that he presented here to you. It was very close. So, then we were told fill out comment cards. And now we’re told tonight that the comment cards were 50/50. Well, I submitted petitions with at least 12 signatures on them by their July, I believe it was July 5th deadline, is that correct?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: That sounds probably right.
MR. VANLANDINGHAM: Oh, the 5th, that wouldn’t be right. Or wasn’t the 15th.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: It was probably the 15th.
MR. VANLANDINGHAM: Right. That’s right. Apparently those were disregarded when they, you know, I have not heard any reference to the petitions that I submitted to the City staff. If you count those 12 to 14 people that signed those petitions I don’t think it would be 50/50. So, I’ll tell you just the impression that I got, and again, for 43 years I’ve been completely happy with City staff. When they came around to our neighborhood in those ice cream trucks it was like, hey, look, we’ve decided what’s best for you. Well, hey, look, we’re worried about trees. We were treated in a dismissive and condescending way by the consultants. I just have to tell you that. If you’re paying for those reports to come out and insult the people in the neighborhood that’s what happens. Anyway, we would just like our neighborhood to stay like it is. And we’ve got along a hundred percent signatures along this route. I’m sorry, we’re missing two houses. Oh, one other thing I want to say. The biggest misrepresentation that I’ve heard here tonight has to do with those ice cream truck meetings. What we did -- they stopped at three locations. And between Mr. Morris and myself we asked for a show of hands at those three locations. How many of you support this project, this route, and how many of you are against it. The total vote from the three was 54 to I believe 14. Now, there were some multiple votes there. Myself and some of the rest of us went to multiple meetings. I think five of us did that. There were four supporters that went to multiple meetings. But that vote, that total vote was 54 to 14. I don’t think anybody took a count. I went up to some of the consultants and said are you guys writing this down or are you keeping track of this vote. And, you know, I got answers that, well, somebody is. That’s what I was told. Well, somebody is keeping track. If I would guarantee you, if any of you had gone to those ice cream truck meetings you would have seen that the people who showed up there were overwhelmingly against this. Thank you for your time.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, sir. If you’ll just sign the form on the podium.
MR. VANLANDINGHAM: I’m going to sign it and I’ll put it back up here.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Perfect. Thank you. And I would just politely remind everyone that the time limit is typically five minutes.
MR. VANLANDINGHAM: I went over.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Just a few. It’s all right.
MR. VANLANDINGHAM: Sorry.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: You’re fine. Okay. Ma’am, if you’d like to come up and just state your name and address for the record.
MS. GUNBY: Good evening, Council. My name is Jennifer Gunby. I’m currently at (Address Omitted) in Roeland Park. But we’ll be moving to (Address Omitted) in the coming months. This image that’s on the screen here that shows the north alignment and references the property that would be acquired, you can see the corner of 5939, that red barn just to the north of it. So, this property has about 300 feet of the side yard that is very private that is going to have the trail all along it and about 50 feet of the front yard from what I can tell. So, we’re going to be putting up with a lot of construction, the noise, the debris and a very large lack of privacy now on the south side. But I am completely in favor of this trail project. I think all the benefits it brings to the community outweighs the inconvenience our one property would have to go through. I’ve heard a number of comments that I would just like to go ahead and counter. The February meeting, I don’t even live in Shawnee, but I was aware of that meeting. Out of town and unable to attend, but I started following along because I knew this trail property, excuse me, trail project would impact where I was going to be moving. The consultants that were at the ice cream stops, I was at the one. It was in our front yard. Very polite. Very courteous. Nothing bad to say about those consultants. I’ve heard a lot of residents who feel the same way I do who are in favor of this project, but they’re not comfortable publicly stating it because they don’t want to draw the ire of their neighbors. My future neighbors, I apologize in my advance, I’m kind of starting off on the wrong foot, but I could not sit here quietly and listen to these comments. When you look at the people who were able to share their opinions anonymously on the comment cards on the online forum, you’ll see the facts in the report that the majority want this connectivity, the majority want the north alignment and they want the trail section that’s separated from the roadway. There are a lot of safety benefits that come along with that. Getting those bicyclists and pedestrians separated from the roadway and that brings that benefit to the whole community. So, when you look at the ability to communicate with the Council anonymously and look just to the facts in the report, I think the residents are in favor of this. My biggest question is how we went from the majority in favor of a trail, the majority in favor of the north alignment and all this input that residents were able to give to the comment of let’s take no action. One of the Councilmembers mentioned it earlier how that recommendation of no action, we got to that point I really struggle with. The City invested a lot of time over the last year. And as for residents who invested a lot of time over the last year to give their input, how did we go from all of that input, all of that investment to a recommendation of no action. So, that’s my two cents. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, ma’am. And if you’ll just sign that form on the podium. Thank you. Is there anyone else from the audience who would like to speak to this item? I think you’ve already been recognized, but, okay, come on up.
MS. KRAFT: I just wanted to reiterate the fact that --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Come on up to the podium.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. So, we can record you, ma’am. Thank you. And if you’ll state your name again just for the record.
MS. KRAFT: Phyllis Kraft. (Address Omitted). I just wanted to add to what she said that if it were true that the majority of people want this, then we couldn’t have found 15 people to sign petitions to bring up to the City Council, which we did. And the other thing is I’m kind of proud of this, so I’m going to mention it. My parents bought my house in 1949 from the builder Ken Scott. So, it’s been in my family since 1949. And if you ever want to see a beautiful place drive by it because it is and it still is. And that’s why I’ll fight to keep it that way.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, ma’am. Okay. David, I think you’re being called up. You’re next. All right. Come on up, ma’am. And if you’ll just state your name and address for the record.
MS. MARTIN: My name is Deborah Martin. I live at (Address Omitted). I see the train of thought let’s connect Campbell Park and the Turkey Creek, go north, make a route. I see the thought process, let’s go south because we’re redoing the flooding problems. We’re going to have a bridge. It could be connected to the development on Nieman. I see positive negatives for both proposals. Change is difficult. But it just seems a shame to keep having surveys, keep having meetings, keep having consultants. I mean, this has been going on since the HyettPalma of trying to improve downtown Shawnee and the neighborhoods. I’m not sure where I stand on do I prefer the northern route, do I prefer the southern route. But one thing I do not hear the City talking about is the steepness of 60th Street at Nieman. That is dangerous. And that would be probably my objection to the northern route. I had some other thoughts, but --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: It happens to us all.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah.
MS. MARTIN: Thank you. I’m starting to get emotional, so I should probably stop. Thank you very much.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, ma’am. And if you’ll just sign the form on the podium there. Thank you. David, come on down and state your name and address for the record, sir.
MS. MARTIN: I told you should have gone first.
MR. MORRIS: Good evening, Council. My name is David Morris. I now live at (Address Omitted). First of all, there’s been a lot of good things happen in Trail Springs. And as Trail Springs Neighborhood Association Chair lately there’s been a lot of good things. There’s been some patching and some road repairs. There has been the Stagg’s project that’s going on. I’ve not heard anybody in the neighborhood complain about that. There is going to be some flooding issues changed. So, those are all good things. As you can hear tonight, the neighborhood has diverse opinions like most neighborhoods, like most people do. But I think in general, and I’m not going to speak from everybody, but the sense that I get is that there is a lot -- sort of some overstepping of this project. If it’s a six-foot wide or ten-foot wide trail along the southern border I think nobody would have really an issue along that. But when you’re coming from Merriam that’s not going to do anything that every -- that had sidewalks. It has curbs and gutters. Every street in Merriam that meets up to Trail Springs has curb and gutter and sidewalks on them. Every one of them. And then when it comes -- when this plan comes to Trail Springs, then it gets to be this six-foot wide huge trail that really will take out a lot of the character of the neighborhood. Before many of your times there was the Gateway 2000 project proposed. Again, it was a big expansive project. Don’t have a problem with big expansive projects, but it wasn’t appropriate for that -- we didn’t feel like it was appropriate for our neighborhood that would take out -- propose to take out 70 homes in our neighborhood. Sort of overdoing it. After that got through then there was a proposal to put a Green Lantern carwash where now is Scooters and a beautiful two-story bank, and we opposed that. So, I think, and the two-story bank and the Scooters is wonderful. It’s appropriate. It’s appropriate for what’s there. So, I think -- I agree with Jeff. I’m discouraged that we would say, throw up our hands and let’s do nothing. Let’s regroup and really talk with the people in the neighborhood. There’s going to be differing opinions. I think we can come to a conclusion and a compromise on sort of what will improve the neighborhood. Right now if you look, and it will never happen in my lifetime, but the most traffic, the most pedestrians, the most flooding issues, the most bicyclists are on Ballentine. If that was curbed and guttered that would be a huge benefit, a huge stimulus in my opinion to growth to the neighborhood. And you’re going to have people positive and negative on that. But some of the other side streets there’s so little traffic on them. I mean, just put in some curbs. Put in some sidewalks in some areas that it’s appropriate and move forward. But get with the neighborhood and really [inaudible]. The last thing I’ll bring up, the question I have is the 89 online votes. Does anybody have an idea of, I mean, are we governing by, you know, are those votes, were they in the neighborhood? Were they close to the neighborhood? Were they from western Shawnee? Were they from Merriam? Where were they from? Nobody can tell me that. Are we governing by this sort of mass push of people that really don’t have the feel and flavor of our neighborhood? I mean, we don’t have problems with the Scooters and bank. We don’t have the problem with the Panera’s. We’ve made compromises and made that area that was originally proposed to be just a huge wipe-out a nice area and good commerce and people that use it. The neighborhood uses it. So, I think that there is a compromise that can happen and should happen. I do not think that it should just die. I think it should come back to work and get some improvements. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you. If you’ll sign the podium there. All right. Is there anyone else from the audience who would like to speak to this item? Sir, in the back and then -- oh, sorry, sir. Yep. In the lovely McCown Gordon hat. Come on up. I work for -- oh, darn it. I just can’t read. It looked like ours. Well, never mind. I should have gone with the other. I should put my glasses on.
MR. HEIDE: I do like McCown Gordon by the way. Very good company.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Why thank you. Go on, sir. If you’ll state your name and address for the record.
MR. HEIDE: My name is Robert Heide. I’m at (Address Omitted). I’m very disappointed that it’s being recommended that no action is taken. Just like everyone has stated a lot of work has gone into this. I’m one of the people that is in favor it. I’m also one of the people that’ll be as inconvenienced by it as anyone else in this neighborhood. I bought my house four years ago. It was a dump. I’ve put a lot of time and energy and capital into improving it. And the whole reason I did it is because I want to invest in Shawnee, you know. I looked everywhere before I found my house. I wanted to find a place to fix up. I looked at Merriam, Overland Park, Prairie Village Roeland Park, Kansas City, Kansas, Missouri neighborhoods. And everyone who thinks our neighborhood is so great the way it is and doesn’t want to see the neighborhood change or preserve the character, I’m here to tell you the neighborhood is not that great. The neighborhood needs improvement. A lot of the people who think the neighborhood doesn’t need connectivity, I don’t see you guys having kids who want to walk to that school over there. You’re well past the age of having kids that are going to walk to that school. I want to have kids that can walk to school without trespassing, without having to go through a creek, without having to go through some woods on a cattle trail. Another reason why I chose where I did to live is because of the potential of the connectivity. With all due respect, Shawnee is lacking. What downtown Overland Park has done with their downtown incredible. And I know they have a much larger tax base. What Merriam has been doing, and again, I know they have a larger tax base and smaller city. But we have so much room for improvement here and you’re blocking one little piece of this improvement that is going to spur so much other improvement. For example, thank you for approving the storm improvement plan and thank you for improving the upgraded water channel. And if you’ll read the Nieman Corridor report and recommendation in there, it specifically states that an improved water channel spurs development. A concrete box does nothing for us. Concrete boxes do not help neighborhoods. No sidewalks, no curbs and gutters are not helping this neighborhood. Those businesses down on Nieman aren’t just going to show up overnight, the places I want to walk to and go have lunch or dinner are not going to show up overnight unless we do something to improve the City. So, all the people who think it’s perfect the way it is, it’s not perfect. I’m glad that you like it, but it needs improvement. And if you’re going to very loudly and vocally tell people that no, I don’t want it, you’re silencing all the people who do because most people just kind of stand back. They don’t want to get into an argument with you in the middle of the street. So, respectfully thank you to everyone. Thank you guys for your consideration.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, sir. If you’ll sign the podium there. All right. Sir, I believe you are next. And if you’ll state your name and address for the record.
MR. WATSON: My name is John Watson. I live (Address Omitted). We’ve lived there for many years. We walk our neighborhood a lot. There’s a sidewalk that goes, well, across the street from Panera’s. There’s a sidewalk that goes adjacent to Scooters. This new sewage project is putting in a sidewalk on the south side of 62nd Street. Now, all of those will connect in with a little bridge down by the post office, will connect in with Nieman Road. I see on this paper that the project cost of this northern route is about $4,150,000. I’m saying that for a fraction of that cost if you connect the sidewalks along 62nd Street and adjacent to this drainage project that you’re putting in right now, for a fraction of the cost you can have connectivity and use that money to spend somewhere else in the City of Shawnee. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Thank you, sir. If you’ll sign the podium. Is there anyone else in the audience who would like to speak to this item? Come on up, ma’am. And I’m a broken record, but name and address for the record. Thank you.
MS. DUGAN: Lindsey Dugan, (Address Omitted). I want to echo David’s point of appropriateness just kind of right out of the gate. We’ve been spending a lot of time with this and actually, yes, there are a lot of people opposed to this route. And we do feel a little bullied that we were just told that it had to happen this way. We were never really given an option that maybe no one wanted a route at all. It feels very heavy-handed. It feels like a sledgehammer when we just need a little tack in the wall. I think if there was more of a discussion that people would support sidewalks and gutters in an appropriate manner, not a manner that goes through, you know, several people’s yards. I understand that you, you know, want safety for children, several people want safety for their children walking. This route actually creates a whole lot more, not car traffic, but foot traffic through areas where kids play now that the only people that walk in that area are people in our neighborhood, so you know. Like I see Mike twice a day every day. I see David all the time. When your kids are out in the playing you know who’s walking by because you see them all the time. What this would propose, and I’m sure being promoted by the City as more trail space would increase the number of people from other neighborhoods coming through from the apartment complexes on the other side of Nieman. It would bring in a lot of people and make them feel a little more unsafe, quite frankly. Regardless of what generation you come from, I’m pretty sure you don’t want a trail ten feet from your front door. And that’s what a lot of the people along this route would be looking at is the significant loss of yard space. Don’t blame Mike for not having all the petitions in. I’m hoarding some of them. They’re at my house. I’ll bring them in sometime. I’ve touched on the safety. I’ve touched on the exposure issues. My phone is taking a minute to catch up with me. Okay. All right. Well, I’ll just to the cost issue because it’s not agreeing with me. I sat here with you guys during your two-hour debate for City Council on the budget and I learned a lot. It was really insightful. It was the first time I ever sat in on anything like that. And I just can’t even believe that this something we’re considering to this degree at this point after sitting through that debate. I’m up for improvements. I think the problem is we don’t feel like this is an improvement. So, I’d like to see the money go towards the fire station and the other green spaces that we’re not even keeping up according to that debate was that we still need people to keep up with the green spaces that we have. Let’s see. Well, since my list won’t come up we’ll call that good.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. Thank you, ma’am. If you’ll sign the podium there.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Could I ask you a question?
MS. DUGAN: Sure.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: So, would you be in favor, and I’ll ask the question I asked Ms. Kraft, is that, you know, the southern route really takes the least of, I don’t know, imposition on the neighborhood as possible, but still gets that connectivity. Are you opposed to that?
MS. DUGAN: I’m not opposed to that. I do think it’s a smarter plan and takes advantage of a lot of infrastructure that is already in place and has been agreed to be improved and put in place. One of my problems with a couple of the surveys that were done, and I think I’ve mentioned this in a previous City Council meeting, is that this information has evolved over time and come out in pieces and parts. And some of these surveys have happened prior to the knowledge of the new bridge going in behind the post office and elements like that. And so while I find the numbers dubious to begin with as was pointed out as well, even if they’re accurate, they are based on insignificant information at that time. I’m with Councilman Jenkins on what specific meeting you guys were discussing earlier, but I also have the feeling like I was at a meeting in 2014 that this was about a drainage issue. And we talked to people about it that night. We talked about our property that night. And at that pointed it was presented that this had nothing to do with this. This was a commercial development. This was a flood issue. And through the years and a half or whatever it’s evolved into different things and been called different things. My husband did -- went through some paperwork the other day and it’s been called like six different things, which is really hard for the community to keep up with and be on top of and understand exactly all the nuances of the City planning when it’s called something a little bit different each time it’s referenced. And then that’s when we get a little weird about transparency and worried about that. But I won’t go down that rabbit hole.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. Thank you, ma’am. Is there anyone else from the audience who would like to speak to this item? Okay. Sir, in the front and then, sir, in the back. And name and address for the record.
MR. BRALEY: Randy Braley, (Address Omitted). A couple of things. First to answer David’s question. I live out in western Shawnee west of K-7 and I was one of those people that filled out the survey. I would like to think that my input as a citizen of Shawnee is just as important. But hearing everybody’s comments it’s gotten me to think. As a Council I think there needs to be maybe some discussion as to your point of view and how you see this project. Is this simply a neighborhood improvement for this area, or is it an investment in an asset for the community as a whole. Jeff mentioned it. I am one of those people from western Shawnee who ride my bike all the way down to the Crossroads. Probably once a week in the spring and in the fall. Not anymore, hopefully soon. And that’s an important connection for me. And when we got into the process I did serve on the committee. I made sure to kind of ride through the neighborhood and I enjoyed riding through the neighborhood. I hopefully didn’t threaten anybody by riding my bike through the neighborhood. But at times it became frustrating because of the network of streets that didn’t connect, which at times would push me onto Johnson Drive. Didn’t feel as safe on Johnson Drive getting down to Merriam Lane and to the trail as I did working may way through the neighborhood. But again, I think it was disappointing to hear that we were going to just sort of table this because I think it is an important connection. I think we can’t lose sight of needing to connect to another asset to make that connection. I certain empathize with the concerns of the neighborhood, the impact it has on your property. That probably needs to be worked out some more. But I wouldn’t want to put this on a shelf and not maybe -- if the next action is, is there a next step to this that we’re not thinking about. What is another step that we can take to consider, think outside the box to make this connection and then not lose site of the investment we want to make a long Nieman Road. I mean, it’s an important connection to drive Commerce along Nieman Road. The thing I will end with, having served on the committee, my interaction with the consultant was very positive. They came to our meetings well prepared. Guided us through thoughtful conversations about the opportunities that we have, the challenges that were a part of the project. And then the public meetings that I attended in February, I did not make the ice cream socials, but in February, well attended. They took the comments. They had presentation boards. There were people interacting after the presentation. So, from my point of view I thought the consultant did an excellent job in preparing us for this project. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, sir. If you’ll sign the podium. Thank you. Sir, come on up. And like everyone else, if you’ll state your name and address for the record. Thank you.
MR. WESSELMANN: My name is TJ Wesselmann. I’m at (Address Omitted) right there at the pond. We have a bridge there that the City has been doing some repairs on and taking care of. I need to talk to Mike. He probably needs to look at it again. We’ve talked to Mike a few times. I also have been pretty happy with the City. They’ve done a real good job. The scope of the trail as I see it, connectivity is a good idea. I have nothing against it. Improving the City is also a good idea. But the biggest, like has been stated, the biggest amount of traffic has been on Ballentine, that road going up and down there going to that school. Talking to parents who walk their kids and had their bicycles that sort of even -- even on this that gets left out of the whole process. That’s one of the major things. I’m concerned about how much of the big trail will take, size of the -- the City’s -- the lots on a lot of this trail are fairly small lots and you’re cutting into 10-15 feet of a guy’s front yard. And in my area there are three or four people who use the entire parking -- their entire driveway to park. They have three or four cars and it would really impact there. The path would come right through the middle and they would, you know, they would be blocking the sidewalk if they parked the way they do now. So, that would be a problem. The cost is another problem. It’s quite big. As one of the girls said that another city has been discussing their budget and they’ve been having fun and games just to take care of what needs to be done with that. We do want improvements in our neighborhood. Sidewalks, curbs and all that. Our road was rebuilt several years ago from a curbing issue and we had curbs put on one side of the road and not on the other, but that worked out. I think we could look at the secondary bridge, one that is connecting into Merriam on 61st Street there. We have the bridge. The other bridge needs improvement, yes. And if we could do that other bridge it would help connectivity without impacting any housing. That would give kids that need to go to school there not having to go through a forest or creek and what not. And, yeah, there’s a cost for that. But if we take this in sections as far as a budget goes, it would allow you to do these things a little smoother, a little less. Sidewalks around the City, I think on Ballentine would help and for some of the other streets there would really help a lot. I think that’s the main part of my thrust. I’m for improvements. I like the idea of connectivity, but if the path were built as-is, it would be problems with the way people park. You would have a path coming down, it hit someone’s driveway and it would be -- people would be parking there. You’re not going to be able to use that. If we go to the path being shared on the road, granted it’s not as safe, but in our neighborhood there isn’t that much traffic. It would be a lot less impact on the individual households as you go. Whether we shelve this or whether you shelve this or not, we do want improvements. There are things that can be done without larger impact on individuals. And that’s all I have to say.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, sir. If you’ll sign the podium there. Thank you. Is there anyone else in the audience who would like to speak to this item? Okay. Seeing none, I would move back to any Council comments. And I would just I guess lead off and say I tend to agree with Jeff and Mr. Morris and several of the others. It seems like there’s a compromise that we can get to here because I would hate to see us do nothing. I think it is a great amenity. Maybe this isn’t the perfect plan. I think there’s an opportunity to engage the residents more and get something that’s going to make everyone happy and provide the access and do all of the good things without maybe some of the negatives. So, I would also be against just kind of shelving it. Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: So, I was going to basically voice what you just mentioned. But if possible, if we could have, you know, staff get together with the residents again and try to come up with, you know, a route that most people or as many people as possible are in favor of. And I don’t know if we could that. I don’t know that it would have to come back to a Committee meeting, but it could go directly to a Council meeting if we’re going to move forward. But I’m with those guys. I don’t know that we should just shelve the project after, you know, we spent a lot of money. And you guys I think you did a good job, so thank you very much. But I don’t know if staff could just, I don’t know have a big meeting with everybody in the neighborhood and anyone outside the neighborhood, you and whoever that would like to come and kind of voice their opinion. I don’t know if you could come to a conclusion.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. Just quoting from our packet here. “Staff would recommend that the City not pursue further trail improvements in the study area at this time. Recommendations in the report can be revisited at a later date. Staff recommends that the Committee forward to the Governing Body a recommendation to accept the plan.” Okay. We’ve got the plan. We stipulated that it can be revisited at any time. And that at this point in time, snapshot tonight, they would recommend no further improvements. I would go from what I listened and heard from here that if we would put a time say, and go back to what Mr. Allmon said. Lots of things have happened in the last six months with the Nieman corridor and things like that. If we can put a, not a strict timeline, but say perhaps we can revisit this January or something and see where we are. And perhaps there’s a chance to talk and come up and what’s better. The way this thing is -- I perceive the way this is going is that there are going to be much more information pertinent to this where this is and the whole Nieman project within the next six months will give us much clearer vision on all sides coming up to a very satisfactory resolution.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you. Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I just want to clarify a few things that were said. You know, safety for children seemed to kind of -- a few people mentioned it in support of it. And what’s interesting is how many people just kind of discount that as that’s irrelevant. I’m going to go back to what I said. When you’re trying to attract young families, yes, some of have moved in, but we also have a problem with a lot of houses in Goddard Heights, some in Trail Springs, some of these downtown neighborhoods when they go on the market they become rental homes because people don’t want to invest in them. We have a challenge in Shawnee. And everybody needs to get their head around this. When you look at our property values. When you look at Trail Springs, you look at the quality of some of those houses, you stick that same house in downtown Overland Park, that’s worth another $70,000-80,000. You put that house in Prairie Village, double. You know, Prairie Village, I remember back in the early 80s Prairie Village, nobody wanted to buy a house there. You could go buy those little ranch, single car garage ranches for, you know, $80,000. And then a young generation kind of caught onto Prairie Village and they started buying homes and the city started improving streets and they started investing in curbs and gutters and started investing in the neighborhoods. And, you know, by actually it was probably the late mid-80s, yeah, it was probably in the mid-80s there, those houses from the 80s, and within a short period of time those values doubled. I mean, those houses went from 80,000, the exact same house for 80-160, 150, you couldn’t touch them. And now you look at Prairie Village, those property values are crazy. But it’s because they invested in the community. I sat through years ago, since I -- I represent Ward III. I represent Randy who lives out west of K-7. And since the day I got elected I have been saying we need to improve our downtown. I have fought for downtown improvement as much as anybody up here. And I don’t represent this area. And I get beat up for it. But I’m in real estate and I see stagnant property values. I don’t see appreciation. I can pull up tax records and show you that it’s flat. It shouldn’t be. It should not be flat. We have -- we are right off I-35. We’re ten minutes from downtown. The location to downtown and for a working force who doesn’t want to be in the city, but doesn’t want to sit in traffic, you can get off the highway before you hit 75th Street, which is typically the traffic jam on I-35. Everything about us makes sense, but we have flat property values. And why is that? Because we’re not investing in our communities. So, you know, when I sat through these meetings four or five years ago and I hear people from Goddard Heights, from Trail Springs, from all the neighborhoods, we want curbs and gutters, we want curbs and gutters. Now, here we’re talking about a trail and I’ve just had three people come up and the four people said I don’t want curbs and gutters. I don’t want you to do anything to my neighborhood. Fine. Because I’ve got neighborhoods in Ward III that would love to have curbs and gutters and I’d much rather spend the money out there. Why am I fighting this? I don’t get it. We have to do this. We have to figure this out. I don’t know if the southern route works. The issue with that is, number one, when we talk about cost, it’s going to be the most expensive one because we’re dealing with private property and we’re dealing with a very heavy commercial area. The whole idea is safety. So, if you’re going to put kids on bikes, you don’t necessarily want to run them in front of a lot of business driveways with a lot of activity because then the whole safety thing kind of goes out the door. I don’t know all the issues with that. I haven’t seen it, but I do know that’s a problem. When we talk about privacy let’s look at west Shawnee. Let’s look at Clear Creek Trail, Grey Oaks, the next phase. There’s $500,000 houses sitting there side by side by side and they just put a trail right down their back yard. Not one person complained. Not person called me up from Grey Oaks and said I don’t want this trail in my back yard. I can get on that trail, anybody can get on that trail. Somebody from Olathe can get on the trail and take it all the way down to the Mill Creek Trail down to the Clear Creek Trail, head west and you can be in someone’s back yard that lives in Grey Oaks. $550,000 house. They don’t know who that person is. Their kids are out playing in the back yard. They’re not worried out. It’s an activity trail. It’s a biking trail. Cycling, walking, people pushing strollers. It’s a great thing. It’s beautiful to see people out with their children on a trail doing things together. That’s what we’re all about. That’s what a community does. If you don’t want it in your front yard, I’m sorry. I know a lot of people that do. And I think it would be great. And I think as a community the only way we’re going to grow is we embrace this idea and say, hey, we need to work together. It’s not all about my community just wants this and I really don’t care what everybody else in the community wants. There’s things that happen out west that I don’t like, but it was better for the City, so we do it. We need to move forward. We need to figure this out and we need to do it. Because what’s happened for generations in this city is we get to the point where we’re going to do something. A bunch of people stand up and say they don’t want it and then everybody caves and says, oh, let’s not do anything. So, here we are. Here we are with Nieman Road. It hasn’t improved in years. Neighborhood property values are flat. Here we are spending time, money and effort and resources to fix it and people are saying, no, don’t do anything, leave it the way it is. But they’re the first ones that come and complain when, well, you know, how come this isn’t getting done or how come that isn’t getting fixed, well, because the money is not there. We’re not increasing property values, the revenue is flat. We’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to make something happen. I don’t know what the answer is. I mean, you’re saying go back to staff. We spent a lot of time on this. I don’t mind tabling it for a little bit with the idea that let’s come back with an actual recommendation, not let’s come back and keep talking about it and whatever. Let’s come back and say, no, this is what makes the most sense, or put a dollar amount on each one. Truly a dollar amount so we know the southern one. What’s a dollar amount? What are the safety issues? What’s a dollar amount on this one? And as a Council let’s choose and decide what we want to do. I mean if that’s the way to do it. I don’t know what the answer is. But we’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to get things done.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. All right. Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I just have -- I don’t necessarily agree that the southernmost route is the most expensive. I’m thinking it’s the most economical because we’re already doing half of it. But anyway, so, you know, --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: We haven’t seen the dollar amount. I don’t know if it is or not.
MR. ALLMON: [inaudible] where the expense is because that’s where it goes through all the properties [inaudible]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: We’re talking about going back up Melrose back over to that green line. Just going up the street. I mean, so that’s on the street there, maybe, you know, you know what I mean? That’s what I’m talking about right there. And I don’t know, if we need another meeting I would recommend that staff have another meeting to invite, even those people that aren’t here tonight, you know, to get their opinion. But if we had one meeting and then staff could bring a recommendation to a City Council meeting. So, I guess I’d make a motion that we have another public meeting to see if we could find out what’s the best for all the residents. Go ahead, Ms. Kraft, and --
MS. KRAFT: [Inaudible; talking of mic]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I understand that.
MS. KRAFT: [Inaudible; talking of mic] There’s a lot of the stormwater project [inaudible] adjustments and construction to the southern trail [inaudible] not pursue further trail improvements in the southern area at this time.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I understand that.
MS. KRAFT: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I’m not necessarily agreeing with what you said there. And so what I’m saying is we spent a lot of time and money on this thing. And we want to improve your neighborhood, but we want to have the least --
MS. KRAFT: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Ma’am. Okay. Thank you, ma’am. Dan, go ahead.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: So, I would throw out a motion that we send it back and have a public meeting and then staff bring a recommendation for the least impact on the neighborhood and still obtain that connectivity.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Is that a clear enough direction and a motion, Carol?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Well, I guess I would just ask. We’ve had meetings. We got public input. I’m not sure what’s going to be different. We’re going to put these three options up there. We might do dots. I don’t know if you did any dots. We’ll get dots on all three alignments and then I don’t know what recommendation we’ll come back. We will never have full agreement. I do think to Mr. Neighbor’s point, there has been a lot of change and we are beginning planning on Nieman Road. We’re beginning planning on the -- the creek project is well underway. I don’t know that we will know more in six months, but maybe by next summer might have some better designs on Nieman corridor and then could revisit this in light of how the trail and Roger Road and all those different things are aligning. That would be my recommendation. If Council wants us to hold another public meeting we’ll hold another public meeting. I just don’t know that -- we’ve had many opportunities for public engagement and this is where we wound up.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Yeah. And I agree. I don’t, I mean, I think we know where everybody stands. I think what I’d like to see is we’ve got three options. We see some pros and cons. Let’s expand that list. Let’s get two or three options. Three actual price tags that’s real easy to comprehend and a bigger list of pros and cons. Because I think this has probably been revised if I’m not mistaken. I mean, we kind of show, do some of the negatives, some of the positives. But we’re going to have to pick, we’re going to get consensus. Eight of us are going to come to a consensus on the one we want. And we’re going to have all the facts in front of us. Let’s just do that. This is why this one is better. This is why this in the negatives. And then throw in their public sentiment against one. And then we’ll all just sit down and choose. If the southern one makes sense I don’t care. I just don’t want it to die. Whichever one just makes the most sense and is truly the safest and it’s going to get used. I mean, when I say safest, I just -- you don’t want to run that trail through a whole lot of commercial driveways if, in fact, that’s what’s going to happen. I don’t know, I haven’t seen the route. But I think would it make sense to --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Well, it’s right there and there’s no commercial driveways.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, I know on this one I see that one. That’s what I’m saying. So, but there was another, wasn’t there a further southern one? Was that the further south or was that -- okay. That is. And so like I said, I don’t have a problem with that one. So, let’s actually -- let’s figure it out. I mean, let’s get some price tags. Now, the Merriam, and that’s the question is, you know, if one of these, and Merriam is absolutely going to play ball, then that needs to be in there. Is that a big stumbling block where, yeah, we could do it, but we’re going to get to a point and then we’re not going any further because Merriam is going to say, no, we don’t want to do that and then what? I mean, you know, go to their meeting and beg and plead, I don’t know.
MR. ALLMON: They were involved in this heavily from the moment that we envisioned this grant. Their planning director and their parks director were involved in this process and they do not plan on any capital expenditure on their side of the city limit line. And that’s why they -- and they don’t like the visual look of their portion of the city on that southern-southern route, what I’ll call the route along the southern creek down by the skating rink. That’s why they hinged and pushed and were pretty insistent on wanting 60th Street. They have sidewalk improvements on that side of the street and it does terminate at a very nice park that has parking spaces for people to park there, get on their bike. So, that was kind of decided by them as part of this vetting process.
[Conversation out of recording area]
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: I have to agree with Carol and Jim. I think with the activities that we have going on some of the projects now that in light of that we may very possibly see something that may enhance what this whole program is. I don’t have a problem putting it down the line just a little bit here and see what we have coming up with it.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Sounds like we have -- Carol.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: I just want to state for the record to be real transparent. There is no funding available. There is no funding in any of the forecasts in the budget, except for $400,000, which we talked about during the budget process, which was identified for if we were going to select this route that maybe to go ahead and put the two bridges in in those areas where it’s being used. So, that’s the only funding available. So, I don’t want -- we’re talking about this like it’s going to going to happen imminently if we should move ahead with it. But I want to be clear there’s a long, long road ahead in terms of funding. And our intent, thought was that this grant program has continued in tiers through the last three or four years and we were very fortunate to get grant funding. And out hope would be that an opportunity would come up. We would have a plan we could pull off the shelf and say this is ready to go and apply for that grant to actually do the design and construction. But right now there is no funding for design and construction.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you for that reminder. I believe we have a motion on the floor by Councilmember Pflumm to hold another public meeting and come back. Do I have a second on that motion? All right. Motion fails for lack of a second.
I certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from the electronic sound recording of the proceedings in the above-entitled matter.
/das September 20, 2016
Deborah A. Sweeney, Recording Secretary
Stephen Powell, City Clerk