Baldwin City receives KDOT grant for sidewalk to west school campus

This aerial file photograph from October 2015 shows the downtown area of Baldwin City at center with the Baker University campus to the north, at top.

Thanks to a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation, Baldwin City school children will have a new safe route to the community’s west school campus.

Baldwin City Administrator Glenn Rodden said the city learned Jan. 30 that it will receive a $580,000 KDOT transportation alternative grant, which will provide 80 percent of the cost to install a six-foot wide sidewalk on the south side of Elm Street from Eighth Street to the existing walkway at the Midland Railway tracks.

The more than five blocks of new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk will connect the ball field complex at the Baldwin City school district’s west campus to Baker University.

Rodden said the city will contribute $235,000 for the sidewalk’s design and construction as its share of the required local match. The grant is funded with pass-through federal money, and the project is slated for the federal fiscal year that starts in October. Rodden anticipated construction would occur in the spring or summer of 2020.

The project will include benches, overhead decorative lighting and the planting of trees. KDOT will administer the project, including awarding design and construction contracts, Rodden said.

The new sidewalk will connect with a system of trails on the school district campus, Rodden said. It is the city’s goal that the trail will connect to a more extensive trail system in the future.

The city will make a series of follow-up grant applications with KDOT for help with the proposed trail from Baldwin City to Ottawa along the Midland Railway tracks, Rodden said. Last year, the city purchased about 10 miles of easement along the Midland tracks for $345,000 and is seeking to recoup all but $94,000 of that through contributions from Douglas and Franklin counties, various economic development groups and private donors. In June, the Douglas County Commission agreed to provide $94,000 to help Baldwin City with the purchase.


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