Friday, Mar. 15, 2013
Commission explores bikeway plan development
By Bethany Bashioum
The Mid-America Regional Council is looking to Cass County to sign off on an agreement that would lead the effort in developing a new regional bikeway transportation plan.
MARC is looking to the county to contribute a share of $3,600 to join seven other Kansas City area counties to hire a consultant that would develop a comprehensive bike path plan.
Aaron Bartlett, representing the council, introduced a proposed professional services agreement to the Cass County Commissioners during the March 7 meeting.
“It has been quite a long time since we have done a planning effort like to look at bikeway planning across the region,” Bartlett said.
Park directors Todd Spaulding from Belton and John Kennedy from Raymore were present to show their support for the agreement.
In introduction to the proposal, Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox said the agreement is merely a discussion that the Commissioners would like to have before signing off as a resolution during a future Commissioner’s meeting.
To date, Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri have already committed $3,600 each toward the project. Leavenworth, Johnson, Miami and Wyandotte have also made a financial commitments in the shared endeavor.
Bartlett said he’s been able to obtain $96,000 in federal grant money on both sides of the state line to assist with the cost of doing a regional bikeway plan, but is looking for matching donors to cover 80-20 percent cost share.
Bartlett said Cass County is the final community that they are seeking support from.
If approved, the committee would work directly with the various counties involved within the area to put together a RFQ to bring on a consultant, Bartlett said.
Should the county sign the agreement, MARC said they would like to have the project underway by summer, and then come back within a year with a adopted bike path plan.
According to Bartlett, the counties wouldn’t be any under obligation to build the proposed trails if they chose not to participate.
Cox said they may draw on the support of the Cass County Park Board, as well as area municipalities to invest in the development of bike trails once a plan is drafted.
Bartlett also said Cass County could have more of an advantage to be more competitive with available grants to build paths and trails through participation in the regional effort.
Associate Commissioner Jimmy Odom, who represents Cass County, along with Raymore Mayor Pete Kerckhoff, on the MARC board, voiced his support for the initiative, as did Associate Commissioner Luke Scavuzzo.
“I would like to see it get done, too, as long as we don’t neglect the southern part of the county - Archie, Creighton and Drexel,” said Scavuzzo, who is elected from residents in the south district.
In other meeting business, the Cass County Commissioners took the following actions:
-Received the 2012 Financial Report from Treasurer Steve Cheslik. The report indicated that the county had a balance of $12.7 million as of Dec. 31, 2012.
-Authorized payments of invoices to Pulse Broadband and Finley Engineering in the total amount of $132,473. The payments, which were eligible for USDA funding before it was frozen, will be made through the county’s COP funds.
-Heard a brief presentation from Doris Sherrick and the South Grand River Water Alliance.