Nearly $500,000 in federal grant money is coming to Arkansas City to repair and improve Summit Street from Kansas Avenue to Radio Lane.
The Community Development Block Grant award was announced this week by the governor’s office. Ark City was one of 32 rural Kansas communities to receive a combined $14 million. Its share is $455,000.
City spokesperson Andrew Lawson said the estimated cost of the local project is $910,000, but the city hopes to secure state transportation funding for 25 percent of the remaining cost to reduce local taxpayer costs even more.
The project will resurface the busy commercial thoroughfare, install sidewalks on the east side and redo approaches from the side streets onto Summit with concrete.
“There might be some drainage improvement, too,” Lawson said. “It kind of always pools up there right around Donut Palace and the (Ark Valley) credit union. We may have to look at that.”
Curb and gutter work might also be included, he added.
Securing the federal grant commits the city to the project, which could be completed in 2021 if everything goes perfectly, but could also happen next year, Lawson said.
The city has been trying to improve that section of Summit for 10 years, he added. Discarded plans included installing sidewalks on both sides, which would have required property acquisition, and reducing the number of lanes to install a center turn lane to help with traffic safety.
Lawson on Friday said City Manager Randy Frazer confirmed that current plans call for Summit to stay as is with four lines in both directions the whole way.
“They don’t want to go back down that road again and have that argument,” Lawson said of city officials.
Securing the CDBG grant is a big win for the city, he added. The city had applied three times for water and sewer line improvement without success.
“We’re really excited about this award,” Lawson said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve tried and failed for three different CDBG awards. So to actually get one is a relief. They’re highly competitive.”
The city doesn’t have a large fund for street work, he said, so using grant money helps to stretch those dollars.
A press release from the governor’s office states the grants are meant to help low-to-moderate income people, prevent or eliminate slums or blight, or resolve an urgent need where local resources aren’t available.
Lawson said the entire city has been categorized as low to moderate income, and the entire city was used for this project because of the high traffic volume on Summit Street.