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Bluemont, CiCo ideas on agenda

By Corene Brisendine

A storm water erosion study of the CiCo Park area and improvements to Bluemont Avenue are up for discussion at Tuesday’s city commission work session.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has authorized $900,000 for traffic flow and safety improvements along Bluemont Avenue in the 1100 and 1200 blocks. The city will be looking at two options for those improvements. The first would involve building a median in the middle of Bluemont Avenue. There would be a break in the median at 12th Street that would allow drivers on Bluemont to turn left, but all traffic on 12th Street would only be able to turn right.

The second option would involve installing a turning lane in the middle of Bluemont Avenue. This would allow drivers to turn left into businesses along the corridor, but driveways into those businesses would have to be consolidated. That would reduce parking space available, redirect traffic circulating among the businesses, and would require the city to purchase more rights-of-way.

The CiCo Park area discussion involves an effort to remedy erosion problems in the area south of CiCo between Dickens Avenue and Claflin Road that was identified in 1995. The erosion problems are a part of the larger Wildcat Creek flooding issues. To solve the flooding and remove several homes from the FEMA mapped floodplain, the city would need to create a benefit district that would fund creation of a detention pond in the park.

In order to move forward, the city would need 51 percent of the property owners within the district to agree to help pay for the cost of construction. The $1.5 million cost of creating the pond would be evenly split between the district and the city. Boundaries of the proposed district have not yet been set.

The easement needed to build the pond would be about 15 acres inside CiCo Park. If the city does not get the needed support by the home owners, the alternative is to do nothing. The city is also looking at planting vegetation to alleviate the erosion within the park at the cost of $900,000, but the city would pick up the full cost of that.

No decisions will be made during Tuesday’s meeting because it is a work session only. The session starts at 5 p.m. in the City Commission Room at City Hall, 1101 Poyntz Ave.

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