Peculiar approves first reading on School Road plan

bbashioum@demo-mo.comMarch 21, 2014 

Cass County Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox is another step closer to getting a revised cooperative agreement in place for the School Road project before new leadership takes over next month in Peculiar.

Peculiar aldermen approved the first reading of the agreement 6-0 during a regular meeting March 17.

The aldermen had approved a cooperative agreement nearly a year ago to make safety-driven improvements to School Road from Hubach Hill Road to 211th Street, a narrow, hilly 2.3-mile stretch without any shoulders.

“Anybody who wants to go over when school starts or gets outs, and really wants to test their sense of adventure, go out on School Road,” Ward 1 Alderman Homer Dunsworth told the Board of Aldermen. “When I was on the (Raymore-Peculiar) school board, I think we had one fatality and several near-fatality wrecks.”

Peculiar’s share would have been $1.2 million, or about 22 percent of the cost, but the financing plan fell apart when Raymore officials declined to participate, saying they couldn’t justify spending the money outside the city limits.

Cox then went to work on a different funding plan to improve the road.

The county leveraged its own funds to move forward with the first and second piece of the three-phase project in the latter part of last year, and Cox has since come up with a different plan to fund the remainder.

“I think we’re all looking forward to getting it done,” Cox said. “I was never on the school board, but I did drive it when I was a teenager.”

The updated plan also includes adding in a 5-foot wide sidewalk to a portion of the project along the east side of the road, in front of the school, and removing the full “T” portion at 211th Street from the project, which will be included in Peculiar's upcoming 211th Street interchange project with the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Peculiar is being asked to help with a portion of roadway within its city limits.

The proposal calls for Peculiar to chip in about $943,000 less than the county originally asked.

The county would be looking to cover roughly 55 percent, while Peculiar would be picking up about 45 percent of phase 3.

Meanwhile, the first two county-paid phases are moving forward, and construction should start this year.

Cox said he wants to get something in writing with Peculiar before Mayor Ernie Jungmeyer retires, and voters elect a new mayor and aldermen on April 8.

“I would be extremely surprised if Peculiar wouldn’t agree to this,” Cox said.

There is also a chance the county and Peculiar could get a grant to cover a significant portion of the final phase.

If Peculiar approves the agreement, the project is estimated to be completed in 2016. If the grant is awarded, it may take until 2017 because of the expected disbursement schedule of the state money.

“I hope here that in 3-4 years we’ll have a new road going down all the way from Peculiar to Raymore,” Peculiar Mayor Ernie Jungmeyer said. “I’ll be looking forward to that.”

Dunsworth also thanked Cox for his work on the School Road project.

“It’s death waiting to happen on that road out there, and I want to compliment you,” he said. “Hats off to you.”

Peculiar’s second reading is expected to be presented at their next meeting on Monday, March 31.

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