The Bowling Green City Commission on Tuesday approved the current fiscal year list of sidewalk projects while it awaits more information before deciding on next year’s projects.
Commissioners unanimously approved a $357,792 bid from Infinity Pipeline of Bowling Green for construction of about 6,300 linear feet of sidewalks along portions of Kenton, Park, Magnolia and Sandra streets, North Lee Drive and Potter Avenue. The work includes five-foot sidewalks, utility relocation, drainage boxes, curb, gutter and related projects.
The city public works department also presented at a work session Tuesday its candidates for fiscal year 2020 sidewalk projects. They are:
• Loving Way from U.S. 31-W By-Pass to Rodes Drive.
• Holly Drive from Dennis Way to 1745 Holly Drive, and then the opposite side of Holly Drive from that point to Catherine Drive.
• North Lee Drive from Old Barren River Road to Trent Way.
• Highland Way from Smallhouse Road to Westen Drive.
The last project spurred the most discussion after receiving some negative feedback from property owners.
The city surveys impacted property owners for each sidewalk project. While the vast majority of respondents indicated approval for the proposed sidewalks in the other areas, a majority (75 percent) of those who provided feedback on Highland Way said they opposed the project.
The city surveys indicate that anyone not providing feedback is assumed to consent to the project. Using assumed consent, 60 percent of the property owners indicated they were in favor of the project.
But that was not enough for commissioners to provide consensus support for the proposed 2020 sidewalk projects. Instead, at the request of commissioners, city staff will provide them with more information about the Highland Way project, including specific survey responses from those opposed to the project.
Assistant City Engineer Kyle Hunt explained that the list of proposed projects comes from resident requests and they are ranked based on a variety of factors, including connections to existing sidewalks, cost and technical feasibility – “Basically, how easy will it be to construct,” he said.
The Highland Way project is currently the No. 1-ranked sidewalk project in the city. The proposed sidewalk would connect existing sidewalks between Smallhouse Road and Westen Drive.
The city has been aggressively building sidewalks since 2008, with more than 15 miles of sidewalks constructed since then, Hunt said. The city has budgeted $500,000 for sidewalk construction for fiscal year 2020.
Also Tuesday, commissioners approved a municipal order dissolving the Convention Center Corp., which the city established to oversee the Sloan Convention Center. With the bonds for that project paid off this year, the city commission will take direct control of the convention center.
In June, the corporation board approved issuing a request for proposals for the sale of the convention center, with board members explaining they did not think the city should compete with private convention businesses.