Baldwin City, Kansas is proposing to build a multi-use trail on the north side of the community, starting at County Road 400, running through the Signal Ridge subdivision and into the FireTree Estates subdivision (see map). Eventually, the plan is to have the trail throughout town.
Baldwin City is located in Douglas County, just southeast of Lawrence. It’s population is about 4200, and it’s home to Baker University, the oldest four-year university in Kansas, with an enrollment of nearly 4000 students.
On November 16th, the Baldwin City Council narrowly approved a resolution to authorize applying for a grant for the hiking and biking trail, which was estimated to cost $270,000 to $300,000, after a citizen survey showed strong support for hiking and biking trails.
On December 7th, “firmer” numbers were presented for the proposed trail: $650,000. Of that, the Kansas Department of Transportation grant would cover 80%, while the city’s share would be $137,000.
Ted Brecheisen, Jr. was one of the council members who voted against the grant application a month ago. He said he’s still against it, thinks the survey that was done showing that hiking and biking trails is what residents want most was done poorly and said everyone he talks to wants sidewalks, not trails.
In other words, “I wouldn’t use it, and I can’t imagine anyone else would, either.”
Other council members still look favorably on the project: “I appreciate what Junior has said, but personally for me this is one the things that’s been at the forefront from the public,” Councilmember Bonnie Plumberg said. Mayor Ken Wagner said it made sense to apply for the grant and see what happens. “I just don’t see any risk in letting the grant process take place,” said Wagner. The city may not be awarded the grant and could decline it if it does get the grant.
The application for the Transportation Enhancement Grant has already been approved by the council, but it remains to be seen, if the city gets the grant, whether they’ll actually be willing to invest in the trail. Stay tuned…
Read more from the Baldwin City Signal.