One-year delay sought by city officials on start of Green Park Road project

‘It’s still a go,’ Green Park mayor says of road’s redevelopment

By BURKE WASSON

Green Park officials have applied for a one-year extension to delay the start of the planned Green Park Road redevelopment until Sept. 30, 2009.

Mayor Tony Konopka said city officials have applied for the delay with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, which approved a federal grant funding 80 percent of Green Park Road’s original re-construction cost of $2.4 million. But as the project has been delayed over the years, that estimated cost has been projected to rise.

Konopka said city officials applied for the one-year extension to provide more time for planning and for acquiring temporary right-of-way easements to complete the road’s reconstruction. Aldermen voted in July to execute a consulting agreement with Mark Payken of Payken Consulting to assist the city in purchasing Green Park Road properties that are needed to complete the road’s redevelopment.

“We applied for it,” he said. “We haven’t got anything back from East-West Gateway, but all our ducks are in a row. It’s all in the works. We just haven’t got notification yet.”

Before the city applied for the extension, Konopka had received a letter from East-West Gateway Division Manager James M. Wild that warned of a July 31 deadline for city officials to deliver project submittals for Green Park Road’s reconstruction to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Konopka received a letter July 7 from East-West Gateway stating that the July 31 deadline must be met “in order to ensure obligation of funds” through the federal grant. But the mayor said the city has properly applied for the extension to 2009 and expects East-West Gateway will grant it.

“We applied for it in the time that we were supposed to apply for it,” Konopka said. “So it’s pretty much all assumed that it’s granted. Although, we haven’t got any formal paperwork back.”

Though city officials have applied for the extension, Konopka said it is conceivable that the road’s reconstruction could begin before Sept. 30, 2009.

“Of course, when we’re talking about a year (extension), that doesn’t necessarily mean we go a year before we start anything,” Konopka said. “That just gives us that extra time. We can start and do anything any time from now on. You don’t have to wait a year. But this gives us that extra time in our back pocket that we can depend on so we’re not being rushed.”

That said, aldermen now are on track to vote next year on a final design plan to be put out for bid for Green Park Road’s reconstruction from Tesson Ferry Road to Lin Valle Drive.

City officials learned in June that they also will have to pay an additional $4,500 for an updated appraisal of the Green Park Road property to be redeveloped. The updated appraisal is required because of modifications that aldermen made last year to the design plans to move a trail from the road’s more residential south side to the north side next to Clydesdale Park.

Aldermen voted unanimously last September to amend the city’s contract with the Weis Design Group for additional design services and to apply for a grant to help pay for those extra design services.

The city already had received a $4,000 grant from the Municipal Park Grant Com-mission to assist in the planning phase of a new pedestrian pathway along the road’s north side. Because of that decision, the city last year was billed for additional design services by the Weis Design Group in the amount of $29,000, which brought the original budgeted cost of $200,000 to the engineering firm slightly above that benchmark to $201,914.

Green Park Road is to be redeveloped along a 6,000-foot stretch from Tesson Ferry Road to Lin Valle Drive, according to preliminary plans. The road will be widened with two extra feet of lanes on each side to make 12-foot lanes.

Other improvements include the new pedestrian pathway along the road’s north side, an additional right-turn lane at the road’s intersection with Tesson Ferry Road and a new left-turn lane at Antrill Drive.

Preliminary design plans also call for eliminating drop-offs and ditches from the road and replacing them with vertical curbs on each side. Because the curbing would replace ditches on each side of the road, a storm sewer would be installed across the road’s length.

Substantial grade changes also will be made at the road’s intersections with Kohrs Lane, Mueller Road and Lisa Marie Court to improve sight-line visibility and provide better curb alignment.

The second phase of Green Park Road’s reconstruction includes widening its bridge over Gravois Creek. With plans for the first phase of the project still undecided, the second phase likely will not begin until 2010 at the earliest.

The Green Park Road redevelopment was originally a $2.4 million project, with 80 percent of that cost funded through a federal grant obtained through the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. But the project now will be more costly than anticipated due to such factors as the city’s plans to construct the pedestrian pathway along the road’s north side instead of a sidewalk down the more residential south side and also because of estimated increases in construction costs over time.

City officials also are studying options to purchase property on the road’s north side to accommodate the road’s planned 2-foot widening in each lane and the pedestrian pathway. Officials have worked with the county Department of Parks and Recreation to use park land alongside Green Park Road that is adjacent to Clydesdale Park.

Because federal funds helped to construct the park, the city must find and purchase property to trade to the park in exchange for the county-owned property needed for the pedestrian pathway. City officials also must convince federal agencies that the park property is needed to make improvements along Green Park Road.

Moving the pathway to the road’s north side also will affect three houses on that same side of Green Park Road. Payken’s services will be utilized in that regard.

Konopka emphasized last week that all of these plans for Green Park Road’s redevelopment are still in the works and is optimistic that the project can be put out for bid in the coming months.

“Everything is still planned,” Konopka said. “Everything that we talked about in the past in regard to the trail, in regard to the road and increasing by two feet on each side, everything’s the same. It’s still a go.”