Archive for Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Letter: Project a catalyst

March 13, 2007

To the Editor:

There have been concerns raised over the recent approval to build a new justice center and fire station at Johnson Drive and I-435. These new facilities will meet the increasing public safety demands of our growing city.

In 2004, the voters approved a 1/8 sales tax for the purpose of constructing a public safety center, which would include a police station and municipal court (a justice center) and a fire station. The city distributed information to all residents identifying the site at Johnson Drive and I-435 for the new facilities. The site was chosen because of the excellent access provided to the eastern and western areas of the city. The costs to build these new facilities will be funded entirely by the sales tax revenue and not by property taxes. Anyone who shops in Shawnee is paying to build these new facilities, including those people who live in our neighboring cities.

When Hy-Vee vacated its location at 65th and Quivira, at the request of several Council members, the city manager hired a consultant to perform a preliminary study on this site to determine the feasibility and potential costs associated with renovating this building for use as a justice center. The study showed the costs would be comparable or even higher than the proposed costs to build a brand new facility. In order to determine actual costs associated with renovating this building, it would have required an extensive study. This would have delayed the design-build process, and the design-build team informed the Council that this delay would have increased the costs for a new building due to winterization costs and fluctuating prices of building materials. The design-build process began in August 2005, and city staff has invested more than 1,000 hours in reviewing information related to the new justice center and fire station.

Development has been very active in the eastern part of the city, along Shawnee Mission Parkway and in the downtown area. I believe that this project will be a catalyst for development in the western part of the city and will be a point of civic pride for decades to come.

Mickey Sandifer

Ward 4 City Council Member

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