Kearney focused on interstate, park updates in 2020

The Lions Park plan, designed by SC Planning and Design our of Lee’s Summit with input from city staff and the Park Board, includes adding amenities for people of all ages and abilities with new playground equipment and surfaces, a splash pad; improved aesthetics with new entry signs and landscaping; improved connectivity and pedestrian use with sidewalks and trails; and outdoor conveniences such as added parking, a permanent unisex restroom structure and shaded areas in the form of three new shelters with picnic tables, which could be rented for events.

KEARNEY — For Kearney, 2019 was a year of investments in infrastructure and public safety resources. In 2020, Mayor Randy Pogue said residents can expect more infrastructure improvements as well as updates to city amenities.

In a letter to residents that was also shared on the mayor’s Facebook page, Pogue said 2019 saw millions of city dollars spent on infrastructure. Work included the West Creek sewer interceptor, which eliminated two sewer lift stations and provides service to more than 4,000 new and existing residences.

“Lift stations are expensive and being able to take them offline saves taxpayers money,” he wrote in his letter.

Looking back at 2019

The city also began construction on a new sewer plant headworks, which is roughly 75% complete, the mayor said.

The $4 million project improves treatment operations and expands the plant’s sewer treatment capabilities to keep up with current and future population growth. The work also included installation of an emergency generator to ensure plant operations during power outages, something the city did not have previously.

Investments in public safety in 2019 included more than $130,000 in security updates to the city’s police station off Missouri Highway 92. The improvements allow the station to be a “safe exchange zone.

“This area will be monitored 24/7 by camera and audio recording,” said Pogue. “I’m also proud to announce we hired a second full-time K-9 officer, doubling our K9 coverage to 80 hours per week.”

Pogue said the new K-9 officer team of dog and police officer are veterans of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. The goal is to have the officer and K-9 Joran on patrol by Feb. 1 of this year.

“As our community grows, the number of officers will continue to grow. We approved an expansion of a new squad room in the basement of Kearney Police station to provide a new detective office and additional work spaces for new a future officers,” the mayor said of public safety improvements in 2019 that will continue in 2020.In 2019, the city also purchased a streetsweeper and property at 105 W. Main St., which includes a building that was updated for use by the street and utilities department.

“It’s the property directly north of the new Rotary basketball court in Lions Park,” Pogue said.

Looking ahead in 2020

The mayor said Kearney residents can expect to see work on the city’s second Interstate 35 interchange begin this year.

“We had a few minor slowdowns to that project, but people should be ready to see activity that includes moving of utilities and those kinds of things late this summer or early in the fall,” Pogue told the Courier-Tribune this week.

In the fall of 2019, designers and engineers of the project with TranSystems and Missouri Department of Transportation reported to city leaders that the project would cost more than $4 million more than original cost estimates, chiefly due to increase in materials costs. As a result, Pogue said the city is cutting back on the scope of the work that previous mayor Bill Dane wanted to see happen in conjunction with the interchange.

“It’s those things like improvements further down 19th Street,” Pogue said. “... I feel confident we will deliver an interchange to the people of Kearney that they not only approved of with the previous ballot effort but that the people of Kearney can be proud of.”

One of the projects Pogue is most excited about in 2020, is the revitalization of Lions Park, located off Jefferson Street behind Firehouse Community Center. Updates include inclusive playground equipment, entry signage, added parking, unisex restroom structure and splash pad water feature for young children.

That’s also part of the reason why we bought the property at 105 W. Main St. We have space to expand to the park.That project is going out to bid in a couple weeks and we’re hopeful work will be done by the end of the year,” Pogue said.

The city, Pogue said, is also in the planning stages of creating a dog park in Mack Porter Park that may see the light of day in 2020. Mack Porter Park is located near the Kearney School District bus barn off Missouri Highway 33.This year, the mayor said, will also include a focus on updating sidewalks. The city is looking to improve sidewalks along Grove Street and install sidewalks and a crosswalk near Dogwood Elementary School and along 19th Street that leads from the Brooke Haven subdivision to the high school.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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