Dickinson County Commissioners signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Abilene during their Thursday, Feb. 24 meeting regarding the development of the Northwest 14 th Street corridor.
County and city officials have applied for a BASE grant to fund infrastructure improvements in the area, some of which are in city jurisdiction while others are in the county.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly set aside $100 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds for BASE (Building A Stronger Economy) grant funding to help support infrastructure development and advance economic development opportunities in Kansas.
BASE grant funding – if awarded — is based on a 75/25 basis, with grant monies picking up 75 percent of any project funded while local entities are responsible for 25 percent. However, County Administrator Brad Homman said the city/county were offering to provide 30 percent of the match with each entity providing 15 percent of the funding.
The grant application was due Monday, Feb. 28.
The city/county application seeks funding to expand NW 14 th Street to three lanes beginning west at Shady Lane, removing the curve where NW14th, Van Buren and Flag Road meet, turning it into a four-way intersection, and improving the intersection at Fair Road and NW 14 th Street.
That improvement will also address flooding problems at NW 14 th and Fair, putting in a box culvert on the north side of 14 th , building up 14 th so water won’t run over and diverting water to the north side where it has been running naturally, eventually ending up in Mud Creek.
The proposed project also includes a new road going north into the industrial park behind Russell Stover Candies and Love’s Travel Stop between NW 14 th and Interstate 70, and a new frontage road, visible to those traveling I-70. Homman said the frontage road is a prime area for developers who want interstate exposure. “The city and I agree that by putting that frontage road in there you could have businesses on the north and south and make it much more appealing,” Homman said. “And that new road would tie into Flag Road to circle around the Golden Belt (former Highlands housing development).”
The total project cost is estimated at approximately $13 million.
The county’s financial commitment to the grant, if awarded, would range somewhere around $1.8 million, depending on whether it is fully funded – which is unlikely. Homman noted the prospects of receiving a grant are “something less than positive,” but also commented “if you don’t apply you get nothing.”