Archive for Thursday, January 31, 2008

State of city speech focuses on growth

Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia

Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia

January 31, 2008

Basehor is a small city, but it's growing.

That's one of the first things Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia pointed out in the State of the City Address he delivered this past week. Members of the Basehor Chamber of Commerce gathered Jan. 23 to hear the presentation at the Bob Wiley Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.

"The council is already talking about the next census," Garcia said. "It is spiking up."

Garcia also touched on several other points, including the city's revenue and expenditures of about $5.8 million and $5.1 million respectfully, as well as completed and future street projects.

"If you live on 147th (Street) or drive down 147th, that was long time coming," he said. "I think the city did a good job on that road. Hollingsworth Road was also a long time coming. It's a vast improvement from what it was before."

Residential and commercial development is popping up fairly rapidly with about six different subdivisions in the works with homes varying in price ranges. There's also a long list of new or expanding businesses, he said.

The most notable business for Basehor, he said, is the future grocery store, Wolf Creek Marketplace, which will not only provide residents with an amenity, but will also create jobs.

"That's one of the big things this community needs," he said. "When the grocery store is built, it will create more retail that we desperately need."

Another action that will improve the future of the community, he said, was the recent approval of the school district bond issue, which, for Basehor, includes a new elementary school, a new middle school, renovations to Glenwood Ridge Elementary School and new Basehor-Linwood High School athletic fields.

"If you've ever been to a soccer game, I felt sorry for those guys," he said about the current state of the high school soccer field, which is not up to regulation. "I'm surprised more people didn't get hurt. I think that's going to be a plus in the community."

The mayor addressed a variety of concerns on the future of 155th Street, from the Kansas Department of Transportation's suggestion to remove the traffic signal at 155th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 to the possibility of widening the street. The city has taken steps to make sure its voice is heard opposing the removal of the signal light, he said, and he is confident it is not going to happen.

Those in attendance voiced their concerns about the speed limit on 155th Street as well, saying it needed to be raised. While some said many Basehor residents avoid the area because the speed limit is too low, others said it would be dangerous to raise the speed limit because of children crossing the street while walking to and from school.

"I would not support it," Garcia said. "I don't feel this road can handle 40 miles per hour with all these driveways. I look at it as a safety issue."

The issue has been on the City Council agenda in the past, but he said he would bring it up to the current council at its retreat Feb. 23.

"We'll put that on the agenda and see what this council has to say," he said.

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