Today we begin publishing the Fairway mayoral candidates’ responses to our general election questionnaire. The first item is:
Fairway has made significant improvements recently with an updated pool, a new public works building and the purchasing of a building for our new city hall. What major projects need to be tackled next to continue to improve Fairway? Where do you see Fairway going from here?
The next improvement project will be the replacement of the Sheridan Road bridge. The current bridge has reached the end of its useful life and it makes the most sense, both economically and practically, to replace the bridge.
The new bridge will be a single span instead of the two arches that make up the present bridge. While it will be more modern in its construction, the new bridge will be on a scale that is comparable to its predecessor. The design and appearance will be controlled by the City as the bridge will be built using only City funds.
Funding for the design of the bridge is included in the 2018 City budget. The plan is to construct the new bridge in 2019 using available funds. The cost of construction is expected to be less than $500,000.
A second major improvement involves the southeast corner of the Shawnee Mission Parkway and Mission Road intersection. This area has been the subject of discussion and concern since the construction of the current Mission Road bridge over Rock Creek.
The concern has been that the two houses that remain at that corner would be replaced with a new city hall or some other commercial structure. The City has found another permanent location for its city hall and the time is now ripe for the City to secure the property for future redevelopment as an attractive greenspace similar to what was proposed by the Greenspace Steering Committee some nine years ago. The redevelopment should be done in coordination with any flood control measures that may be undertaken along Rock Creek below the Mission Road bridge.
Third, but by no means less important is the need to stabilize the financial future of the Shawnee Indian Mission State Historical Site. The Site is a tremendous asset to the area; however, because of funding issues, the State was preparing to close the buildings and reduce maintenance. After exploring other options, it fell to the City of Fairway with the support of the Shawnee Indian Mission Foundation has taken on the management and financial responsibility for the operation and routine maintenance of the site.
The current arrangement is for three years and we are half way into that period. The hope is that private funding can be arranged through the Foundation. However, if that fails, other arrangements will need to be made with the State
Initially, efforts need to be concentrated in two areas. As I’ve mentioned in a previously answered question, storm water and flooding issues in our City must be addressed. This past summer proved a challenge for many of our residents who experienced either serious flooding or water in basements causing damage. The second area involves the Shawnee Indian Mission. Agreements signed between the City, the Shawnee Indian Mission Foundation and the Kansas Historical Society removed the day-to-day responsibility of operating the site from the State to the City. This was necessary as the State was decreasing and eventually cutting funding of the site from their budget. We, as a City, could not let the site fall into disrepair. It is the responsibility of the City for three years to provide the cash flow to operate the Mission. The City will be reimbursed 100%. This will be accomplished with the establishment of an endowment fund. Fund raising is currently underway. Revenue generating activities as well have increased significantly with the guidance of the Foundation and City staff. On an ongoing basis, I see Fairway continuing to be the livable and unique community we all currently enjoy.
Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to item three: The Mission Highlands and Mission Valley areas of Ward 4 seem to be the new frontier for teardown-rebuilds. This original homes in the neighborhood are typically single-story, two-bedroom homes. The new houses are often more than twice as large. How do you propose making current residents feel wanted and welcomed in these changing neighborhoods while still making the area inviting for those who want to build new?