County wants to have 31st Street extension discussion with city leaders

The eastward extension of 31st Street from Haskell Avenue to O’Connell Road should be the subject of a meeting of city and county leaders, Douglas County commissioners say.

County leaders think the entire 31st Street route east of Iowa Street should be considered in planning the extension. The county is interested in a possible extension of the street to Douglas County Route 1057, about two miles east of O’Connell Road.

“I think we need to look at the broader footprint,” Commissioner Charles Jones said.

County commissioners met Monday morning with Keith Browning and Chuck Soules, the county and city public works directors, along with city consultants working on a 31st Street extension plan.

The city has $800,000 earmarked for the planned expansion of 31st Street to O’Connell Road. The funds could be used for preliminary engineering design, right-of-way acquisition and some construction. The project would be administered by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The city plans to set up a steering committee to work with consultants on planning, such as identifying an alignment for the street extension to O’Connell Road. Currently 31st Street ends just east of Haskell at the west entrance to Mary’s Lake.

County commissioners, however, said they might be willing to pay for a study on extending the street to Route 1057, which runs north and south. Browning said he would work up a series of questions and issues that a study should address and have them ready by next week.

“If you can come up with a rough estimate of how much that study would cost, then we can work with the city and figure out how to cobble our resources,” Jones said to Browning.

In other business Monday:

¢ Commissioners agreed to waive the bidding process to purchase a Manatron tax information system and related Internet services for an initial cost up to $424,000. The system retains land ownership records and is used, in part, to calculate assessed values, produce tax rolls and tax bills. Several county offices use the system. It will replace a system that has been in use since 1982. The maintenance contract on the old system will expire in a few months and cannot be renewed, commissioners were told.

¢ Commissioners appointed Paul Liechti, Lawrence, to a vacancy on the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department Board of Directors.