Council expresses frustrations with K-7, Google
The Bonner Springs City Council expressed its frustrations with two regional issues: the state’s continued fumbling in plans for Kansas Highway 7, and the expansion of Google Fiber — or lack thereof — for southwest Wyandotte County.
After quickly approving all items on its regular agenda, the council moved on to the discussion of the regional items as John “Jack” Helin, city manager, gave his bi-weekly update. They discussed some recent discoveries about the general plan to turn Kansas Highway 7 into a freeway and a lack of communication about the possibility of Google Fiber moving to Bonner Springs or Edwardsville.
Helin told the council that he and council members Tom Stephens and Rodger Shannon attended a meeting for Wyandotte County about a five-county transportation study sponsored by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
The study’s results, he said, support the city’s stance that freeway interchanges are not necessary at each K-7 interchange. He said the gist of the report is that the state should look at alternative means of creating additional traffic flow rather than making large freeways.
Shannon and Stephens added that the engineer consultants who conducted the study, which considered five other highways in addition to K-7, hadn’t even been informed about Bonner Springs’ concerns and suggestions for alternatives.
Stephens said he found it interesting that the study consultants thought the K-7 freeway plan was only beneficial to cities on the north end of the highway. Shannon said the fact that the study consultants had no idea about Bonner’s concerns showed that the city had to remain on top of the issues.
“Gang, we have got to fight for our town — we have got to fight,” Shannon said.
Helin said he met with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., to see if they would support the city. The study consultants have been invited to meet with the council in the future, Helin said, and he will provide the council with a summary of the study results.
The council then turned its discussion to Google Fiber, which has announced it will expand into Kansas City, Mo., and some northeastern portions of Johnson County, but it remains to be seen when, and if, it will come to Bonner or Edwardsville.
Mayor Clausie Smith said that he and Edwardsville Mayor John “Tiny” McTaggart had written letters to Google with no response. He said because Kansas City, Kan., and the Unified Government landed the original deal for Google Fiber, the rest of the county deserved consideration.
“If we can go to Mission Hills, we ought to get the rest of Wyandotte County taken care of,” Smith said.
“At this point, we’ve been ignored,” Helin added. “They will not respond to us.”
Because the cities that will receive Google Fiber have a deadline to sign up to get their service in various neighborhoods, Helin said his hopes aren’t high that it will come to southwest Wyandotte County any time soon.
“My concern is this clock that they’ve set, the timer is going to run out on us,” he said.
In other business, the council:
• Approved an ordinance to establish the annual salary for Helin at $109,167, retroactive to July 14, and a 10th amendment to the city manager’s contract to reflect the salary change. The change is part of the 4 percent salary increase the council recently approved for all city employees.
• Approved waiving the fee for use of the city parking lot for Kobi’s charity bike show.
• Heard from David Block, president of the Chamber of Commerce, who thanked the city for their help with the Tiblow Days festival.
• Approved the consent agenda.