Council Approves $4.9M Budget For South Kansas Ave Improvements

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Topeka City Council approved a $4.9M project budget for improvements to South Kansas Ave. from 6th to 10th Streets by a 6 to 3 vote Tuesday.

Council members John Alcala, Richard Harmon and Silvia Ortiz voted against the proposal.

Alcala, Dist. 1, cited lack of constituent support as one of the reasons he opposed, he said.

Councilman Richard Harmon, Dist. 9, told council members that the plan was not a "revitalization plan."

Council members heard public comment from 21 different individuals Tuesday.

City staff released a revised budget request Monday for the plan to remodel four blocks of South Kansas Avenue. The amended project budget is reduced from $8,448,032 to $4,967,000, because it now includes only the city's new proposed obligations.

The proposal presented to council Tuesday calls for the bulk of the funding - $3,759,000 - to come from General Obligation Bonds. Another $1,050,000 would be funded through the special half-cent sales tax for street improvements, while the remaining $158,000 would come from Utility Revenue bonds.

The total overall price tag presented earlier also includes $1.8 million in private sector contributions; $1 million approved in 2011 for the conceptual design phase; and $888,000 earmarked in the 2014 capital improvement budget for enhancements such as handrails and benches.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014 in the 700 and 800 blocks of South Kansas Ave., moving to the 600 and 900 blocks in 2015.