The long-anticipated expansion of Eighth Street between Wal-Mart on Grant Street and Dillons on McKinley will start in July. At least that is what Great Bend city officials are hoping.
Making this an issue now are the planned improvements at 10th and Grant. The scope of the $800,000 project (the state pays 90 percent of this) is to increase turning radii to better accommodate large trucks turning onto Grant from 10th headed to Wal-Mart.
However, this means the 10th and Grant intersection will have to be closed, blocking all but one entrance into Wal-Mart, and entrances to the Reserves at Trail Ridge, Comfort Inn and other area businesses. Eighth Street would be a relief valve and detour.
“Eighth Street has to go in before the Grant Street project,” Interim City Administrator George Kolb said. “If we start Grant before Eighth, we cut off any access to the hotels and apartments located on Grant Street unless we use Wal-Mart’s parking lot. Not good.”
But there have been delays in the Eighth Street project, he said.
“Before Eighth goes in, we need temporary easements and additional right of way from two property owners along the route,” Kolb said. “We also need to relocate utilities and that can’t be done until temporary easements and right of way is acquired. We are diligently working to work through these issues.”
The estimated cost of the proposed street improvements is around $824,000. This is about a three-block, three-lane stretch and includes the curb cuts, storm sewer improvements and other related work.
The City Council in October approved pursuing of temporary notes to pay the Eighth Street work. But, ultimately, the entire cost will be assessed back to the property owners along the new street.
Landowners wanting the improvements had to file a petition supporting it. If 51 percent or more of landowners in the improvement district sign, it can happen without a hearing, and this was the case.
Wal-Mart owns two strips on the east end and Lighthouse Investments of Great Bend owns entire field that fronts the south edge of the street, and both back the project. These two amount to 54 percent of the property involved.
Trail Ridge Partners, developers of the Reserves at Trail Ridge apartments, indicated it also supports the extension. The only other property owner involved is Gentilly Real Estate of New Orleans, La., owners of the former Montana Mikes building, and it has not been contacted.
Property owners in the improvement district will be assessed the total cost of the work on a per-frontage-foot basis.
As for Grant Street, “we need to obligate the funds with the state before the state fiscal year ends (on June 30),” Kolb said. This will allow the city to let the project and delay the start date for construction until after Eighth Street is done.
8th street has to go in before the Grant St project. If we start Grant before 8th St. we cut off any access to the hotels and apartments located on Grant St unless we use Wal Mart’s parking lot. Not good. With 8th street completed that necessary detour is available.
Before 8th goes in, we need temporary easements and additional right of way from two property owners along the route. We also need to relocate utilities and that can’t be done until temporary easements and right of way is acquired. We are diligently working to work through these issues.