Looking ahead to 2017, City Administrator John Butz said the year will be spent working on projects that began in 2016 or earlier. "2017 should be a really busy year," Butz said. But what will really make it a busy year is the number, and magnitude, of projects that will begin to come together in 2017.
Looking ahead to 2017, City Administrator John Butz said the year will be spent working on projects that began in 2016 or earlier.
"2017 should be a really busy year," Butz said.
Consumer confidence is up, he said, and local commerce (and the sales tax) will reflect that, so he's hoping for more revenue for capital projects.
But what will really make it a busy year is the number, and magnitude, of projects that will begin to come together in 2017.
No. 1 on the list is the new Transportation Development District and all that entails. The new district's board will meet Jan. 3 to begin the work to issue $30 million in bonds to raise money to pay for roadway construction and enhancements.
"The big project is going to be the Highway 72 extension," he said.
Plans are to add a four-lane limited access highway from U.S. 63 east to Kingshighway near the Bridge School Road intersection. This will take traffic from U.S. 63 and Kingshighway, planners hope, especially once the Westside Marketplace shopping center is built.
Doing this will first take land acquisition and permission from the BNSF to put a bridge over the railroad.
Also going on will be building a road to access the Westside Marketplace property.
"This will go all through 2017 and into 2018," Butz said.
Also planned for 2017 is a "not so visible" engineering project on the sewer system.
Archer-Elgin and HDR have been hired to complete the planning for a full update of the sewer lines and treatment plants to bring the whole system into compliance with what the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue as new regulations over the coming years.
"We are trying to stay ahead of that," Butz said. "This is a multi-year project, but you're not going to see a lot of construction this coming year."
What will be seen—or rather, heard—in 2017 will be information about the planning and fundraising for a new animal shelter.
"The animal shelter public campaign will take place in 2017," Butz said.
That facility will be built with private donations, rather than tax money, and the committee in charge of that effort will be at work gathering support to the tune of $1.5 million. The fund has more than a third of that already, thanks to the $400,000-plus bequest from Robert Eck. Some money has already been spent on a study, an intern, some printed materials and a website, Butz said.
In 2017, various groups will be sought for support, and animal lovers throughout the county will be encouraged to donate.
"We don't see the project under construction until 2018, maybe 2019," Butz said.
Butz said other city efforts are seeing fruition in 2017.
The Hartmann USA factory will open in 2017. That factory, owned by a Danish company, will employ 50 people initially. It is the result of tax abatement and bond authority given by the city.
A large Federal Express facility is also under way at the Hy Point Industrial Park.
"And we're building a new airport pilot lounge," he said. That new facility will replace a 1947 building. The project is 90 percent funded by grants.
There will also be more work done in the parks, thanks to Proposition P, he said.
"That tax will raise $300,000-400,000 a year for capital upgrades," he said.
Priorities are being sought from the community.
"We've had one open house; we'll have another in early 2017," he said.
Another major effort that might occur in 2017, but with little fanfare or notice, is the updating of the city's comprehensive plan.
"The last one was done in 2005," Butz said. "A lot has changed since then.