Lenexa city leaders are deeming it necessary to acquire private property for construction of a multipurpose trail along Lackman Road and 95th Street. The multipurpose trail project cost has also increased by about $800,000 to build a retaining wall and widen the trail footprint to accommodate the wall.
The roughly $2.5 million project involves construction of a 10-foot-wide multi-use trail along Lackman Road from Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park to 95th Street and along 95th Street from Lackman Road to Loiret Boulevard.
“In order to limit the amount of tree clearing, grading, utility relocations and temporary easements an integral retaining wall was added through portions of the project,” said Tim Green, city engineer, in an email, adding that the retaining wall will have a maximum height of 4 feet.
Because the city is adding a retaining wall next to the trail, it must add a buffer or clear zone of 2 feet from the edge of the usable trail. These two factors triggered the cost jump from $1.7 million to $2.5 million, Green added.
The Lenexa council on Tuesday voted 7-0 to approve a resolution, which declares the appropriation of private property as necessary and is the first step in acquiring the easements and rights-of-way for the project. There was no public comment or discussion from the council. Councilmember Dan Roh was absent.
Lenexa will need to acquire easements from property owners next to the project area.
“This provision affirms the standard practice by which Community Development staff makes all reasonable attempts to settle with property owners outside of condemnation,” staff wrote in a city memo. “Should condemnation be necessary, staff will seek authorization from the Governing Body to institute those proceedings.”
Lenexa is hiring Orrick & Erskine as outside counsel for acquisition services on the project.
Green said acquisition of private property was always going to be part of the project, so the cost was already factored into the original budget of the project. Otherwise, the scope of the project has generally remained unchanged, with the exception of a few minor modifications. The pedestrian crossing from Bois D’Arc park to Sar-Ko-Par Park will now have a refuge island with rapid flashing beacons instead of a High-Intensity Activated crossWalk, or HAWK, signal (such as this HAWK light on Johnson Drive in Merriam).
City staff said the project will be funded with $671,040 from Federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds, $750,000 from Federal Construction Mitigation & Air Quality funds and $1,165,160 from the city’s capital improvement funds.
Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020.