Archive for Thursday, September 23, 2004

Basehor waits on downtown

September 23, 2004

At the end of last year and the beginning of this year, the focus of many discussions between Basehor city officials and City Council members centered on the development of a new downtown district somewhere near what's currently referred to as downtown Basehor -- along 155th Street between Hickory and Ripley streets.

However, talks about downtown have cooled in recent months. City planner Angela Solberg said the idea of developing vacant ground for a new downtown district is still very much on the minds of city officials, but the city is "in kind of a holding pattern right now."

"It's on our list of to-do's," Solberg said. "It's still out there on the table. We don't have any concrete plans yet, but everyone is under agreement (vacant ground near the current downtown area) is where they want it."

In April, the city made its selection of areas along 155th Street known as its preferred choice for a revitalized downtown. Before the decision, the city had been weighing the pros and cons between 155th Street and 158th Street.

Among the reasons City Council members cited for choosing 155th Streets is its perception as downtown, plenty of vacant land and its geographic center of the city's existing boundaries.

Moving forward with updates to the city's comprehensive plan could speed along the process or at least help provide a blueprint of sorts as to what city officials want their downtown to resemble, city officials said. The city planner added that any revisions to the comprehensive plan would most likely include the proposed downtown district.

"I'm 99.9 percent sure it will be (spelled) out or earmarked in there," Solberg said.

Essentially, a comprehensive plan is a master guide for the city, used most predominantly for planning and zoning. The standard practice for most municipalities is to update its comprehensive plan every five years. The city of Basehor's plan, written in 1993, underwent its last revision eight years ago, in 1996.

The city is attempting to tailor its comprehensive plan to the 21st century. The city will soon send out requests for proposals to area design firms who are interested in helping the city update its plan. The ballpark cost for hiring a firm to help coordinate the upgrades is between $20,000 and $40,000.

Solberg said the requests for proposals could be sent out as early as the end of this month. Replies are expected back to the city by the end of October, when a decision on the bids could be made. It's the city's hope to begin the process as soon as possible, ideally before the end of the year.

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