Big Ditch Project Is Expanded By 4-1 Vote

You may not always agree with City Commissioner Brad Everett but you have to admit he is consistent and he is looking out for your tax dollars. The City Commission approved an addition to the Tuttle Creek Drainage Improvements on Tuttle Creek Blvd. between Leavenworth and Poyntz by a 4-1 vote. Everett voted "no".

He thought the project was using the wrong material and it cost too much.


In 1998, the federal legislature in Washington, D.C., created the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21). As part of that legislation, a category of funding for transportation enhancement projects was provided. That was further subdivided into subcategories to include "historical, scenic, and environmental" projects. On November 28, 2000, The Commission approved Resolution No. 112800-B declaring the eligibility of the City of Manhattan to submit applications to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for use of transportation enhancement funds for the Tuttle Creek Boulevard Beautification Enhancement Project, Phase II. Phase II would extend the project that is currently under construction south of Leavenworth Street to where the channel intersects Poyntz Avenue (US-24).


KDOT has provided a letter dated June 4, 2001, advising the City that the project application has been approved. It is attached for reference. Also attached is an e-mail correspondence between City Staff and KDOT documenting an extension of the deadline for response to KDOT. The City Commission is asked to concur with the basic parameters of the project if the City wishes to continue.

Design efforts for Phase II of the beautifications is substantially complete. As part of the Phase I design efforts, the City Commission approved the design of Phase II to occur under the same contract with BG Consultants, Inc.

Funding for this endeavor is from the federal fiscal year of 2003. The scope calls for state funds of $512,477 and City funds of $219,633 for the project. The likely source of the City’s match is the storm water fund, probably by dedicating a portion of the revenue stream to pay off a bond for the City’s match. The first bond payment would probably be in 2005, in the approximate amount of $30,000. This project is not currently programmed as a storm water improvement paid for from the storm water fund. In order to accomplish this project on the proposed schedule, and pay for it from the storm water fund, something must be reprioritized or the fee structure must be increased. The most likely item to reprioritize is the annual maintenance line item of $100,000. For two years it could be reduced by the bond payment of $30,000. In 2006, when other bonds associated with this fund are paid off, the annual maintenance could go back to $100,000.

It should be noted that by accepting this grant and following through with the construction of the project, the City of Manhattan will also be assuming the maintenance responsibility for the landscaping and planting materials that will be placed in this area. This will create additional demands on the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Letters of support were written in 1998 in anticipation of the last round of transportation enhancement applications. At that time the City of Manhattan submitted an application for approximately 1,900 feet of the drainage ditch including the portion south of Leavenworth Street. The attached letters of support are still relevant and appropriate in relation to the area of proposed improvements.