Archive for Thursday, July 8, 2004

Basehor population growing

July 8, 2004

Basehor's population has swelled to 2,715, according to the most recent population estimates that calculated population for July 1, 2003 and were released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"That's pretty phenomenal," City Administrator David Fuqua said Tuesday.

The 2,715 figure represents a 21.3 percent increase over the 2,238 figure from the official 2000 census. That mark also represents a 7.8 percent increase over a one-year-period since the July 2002 figure of 2,518 was released last summer.

"Well, that means we better get ready," Fuqua said.

What the city has to get ready for is a population of 3,000 that doesn't seem that far away, and every indication is that growth will continue.

"If it grows like that, my calculations show it will be 3,000 by January of '06," Fuqua said.

While the population changes may seem surprising, Fuqua said the city has not been caught off guard. He said the city had estimated growth of about 75 households a year, a figure that is in line with the census estimates.

Moreover, city officials, including Fuqua, City Engineer Joe McAfee and city superintendent Gene Myracle, are working toward obtaining a state grant that would provide for a total overhaul of 155th Street and facilitate growth and traffic. Fuqua said the approximately $1.8 million project will cover 115th Street from Parallel Road to State Avenue. The project will transform the street into a two-lane road with a turning lane in the middle and will include curbs and gutters. The plan could also include a frontage road to connect 155th and 158 the streets, Fuqua said.

"It will be a nice, modern, up-to-date road to handle the growth," he said.

Fuqua said city officials are set to submit the application and pertinent paperwork for the economic development growth to the state prior to the Aug. 2 deadline. The grant is designed to provide up to $2 million, but Fuqua said city officials are expecting to receive approximately half of the amount of the project.

"I think it will happen," Fuqua said. "The only question is how much will be funded. Will we get some portion or all of it?

"It is extremely important that we get to work on the major collectors in the city."

State officials will likely give the city word on the grant between January and May of next year and the money would follow shortly after that. Fuqua also said city officials are soliciting federal funds for the project as well.

While the project will be a major step towards accommodating growth and the concerns associated with population increases, Fuqua said other projects will also be in order.

"This will be the first of several major street improvements over the next couple of years," he said. "There will be more coming down the pike."

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