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Peabody, school may have leg up with street project

Collaboration improves odds of receiving grant

Staff writer

Peabody’s partnership with Peabody-Burns school district to rehabilitate streets between the elementary and high schools could boost the city’s chances of receiving a Kansas Department of Transportation grant, said Darin Neufeld of EBH Engineering during Monday’s Peabody council meeting.

“This is obviously a needed project,” he said. “They’re getting a two-for-one deal. They’re helping a school district and a city. That’s why I think they’d look really favorably at this.”

While it’s a cooperative project between Peabody and Peabody-Burns school district, Peabody will be listed as project owner on the application, Neufeld said.

“KDOT doesn’t care where your portion of the money comes from,” he said. “It’s coming from the city of Peabody. How you collect it from other entities involved, that’s your business.”

If KDOT awards a grant, covering 85%, then the remaining cost will be paid by Peabody.

Along with the streets, certain parking lots at both schools will be redone.

“The fact that it’s a year from now, it’s like ‘darn’,” Peabody-Burns superintendant Ron Traxson said. “But things don’t happen overnight.”

Applications from fall 2019 required project estimates of $1 million or more, but that was removed for spring projects because so many fall projects fell between $200,000 and $600,000, Nuefeld said.

“They don’t want to look at projects that are only $50,000 or $60,000,” he said. “When I put together this estimate for both areas, this is the size project that I feel fits what they’re looking for.”

If Peabody receives the grant, the project’s design-construction-inspection will be paid separately by the city.

Keeping that portion separate is advantageous because Peabody won’t be restricted to using KDOT design specifications, or KDOT computer programs for construction, Nuefeld said.

“When we have to do those two processes the cost is anywhere between two and 2½ times more than what I can just come in and do it for you guys,” he said. It’s a big cost savings not to have to go through them.”

Using numbers from Hillsboro’s street rehabilitation, Nuefeld said a worst-case scenario was that the project would cost $671,000. The grant would cover $475,000, while Peabody’s share of $140,000 and the school district’s $56,000 would cover the extra 15%, plus design-construction-inspection.

Peabody could see backlash from some residents for removing brick from streets councilman Lindsay Hutchison said, although any brick is covered by four inches of asphalt.

Asphalt or concrete can be used in the project, but concrete ages better, Nuefeld said.

“In that 20 years of asphalt life you’re chip-sealing it at least once, if not twice,” Neufeld said. “At 20 years, you have to do either a full reconstruct or a very deep mill and overlay, usually.

“I’m at year 27 now and I have concrete streets that look almost like the day they were put in.”

Last modified April 2, 2020

 

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