Merriam is focusing its next five-year plan on revitalizing the downtown corridor and moving forward on the Upper Turkey Creek project.
Why now? In recent presentation to the Merriam City Council, city staff shared a draft of the city’s capital improvement program for 2023-27. No action was taken, but city leaders got a first look at the city’s potential priorities for the next few years.
The plan comprises about $51.5 million in improvements, with funds for such projects coming from a variety of sources, including sales taxes, grants and some public financing within specific tax increment financing districts.
The details: The city is planning to channel about $19.6 million of local and federal funds into the downtown Merriam corridor.
This includes road work along Merriam Drive, plans for the site of the now-demolished Irene B. French Community Center at 5701 Merriam Drive, and street repaving work.
Efforts to revitalize downtown Merriam also include extensive work on Upper Turkey Creek, the city’s only major project over the next five years.
City Administrator Chris Engel said the Upper Turkey Creek project has been in the city’s budget for more than 15 years.
The city has about $43 million total planned for Upper Turkey Creek, which is slated for improvements, starting in 2024.
Of those funds, $27.9 million will come from federal support, $7.1 million are from Johnson County’s stormwater management program, $2 million are from in-kind and easements and the roughly $5.9 million remaining (although that amount could fluctuate) will come from Merriam’s capital improvement budget.
Medium-level projects: The city has six medium-sized projects in the works over the next five years, including a mix of streetwork and storm drainage rehabilitation.
The projects considered medium-level will cost between $1 million and $5 million.
Of note are plans to improve Merriam Drive as part of the city’s overall efforts to rebuild and revitalize the downtown area.
Two of the projects that require additional city approvals include Merriam Drive improvements from Johnson Drive to West 55th Street and drainage work on West 50th Terrace from England to Kessler.
The rest of the projects are already slated in the city’s five-year capital improvement program.
Below is a chart including the medium-level project locations, general timelines and total project costs.
Minor-level projects: The city has six minor-sized projects in the capital improvement program, including an emphasis on major corridors through the city, downtown revitalization efforts (specifically a focus on the site of the now-demolished Irene B. French Community Center at 5701 Merriam Drive) and the city’s public art programming.
These six projects are in addition to the city’s annual programs that cover drainage work, sidewalk work, street lighting and mobility programs for cyclists and pedestrians.
Below is a chart including the minor-level project locations, general timelines and total project costs.
Streetwork plans: Merriam also proposes to mill and overlay, or resurface, nearly three dozen street sections across the city over the next five years.
By the end of the program, the city’s downtown area would have completely redone streets. Below is a chart of those plans.
Next steps: City staff will take feedback from councilmembers, and approval of the capital improvement program comes in conjunction with approval of the city’s 2023 budget.
A recording of the meeting is below.