By Fred Arnold Telescope Publisher
It finally happened.
At a special meeting of the Belleville city council on Monday, city leaders unanimously passed a measure to allow for the construction of a threephase road system in the Belleville Industrial Park. The authorization paves the way for new business and industrial growth in the area adjoining and along north and south of Love’s Travel Plaza.
‘We’re going now,” Belleville Mayor Adam Robertson said. “We finally got it done.”
The project, which will install a concrete road, curbs gutters and drainage in the Industrial Park is one of the most proactive infrastructure projects the city has undertaken. Mayor Robertson says it will give the springboard final touches for new businesses who have “signed on the dotted line” that they will come to Belleville.
“Everything is dependent on having this new road system,” he said. “I’ve been saying it for a long time, there are good things happening in Belleville, and people are one step coser to seeing this.”
City leaders have discussed and debated the aggressive nearly $2 million road project for the last six months. The primary hang-up has been cost. But with new business and industry pledging to come to Belleville and/or expand existing operations, the council decided the time to move ahead was now.
Council member Mike Palmquist has served a point on the project. Saying it was one of two things (the other being the new water plant) the council had to get done. He has repeatedly said the community and total cost of the project would be best served to complete all three phases, rather than one at a time.
“I’m telling you, if we build it, they will come,” he said. “We have businesses right now, today who will build in the industrial park if we build that road.” The rest of the council listened.
City officials are now lining up financing and hope to get the project out for bid in mid-December.
KDOT Funds Pending
City Manager Adam Anderson said he will know by the end of the month if the KDOT grant Belleville applied for will be approved. If approved the city will receive slightly over $1 million toward the total cost.
“That grant would obviously be huge,” Mayor Robertson said. “But to be clear, we are proceeding with the new infrastructure whether or not we get those funds.”
With the unanimous commitment on the project, council members are also turning an eye to “what’s next.”
Mayor Robertson and the council instructed Ken Johnson, of Campbell-Johnson Engineering to begin plans for the fourth Phase, which includes extending the Industrial Park road, south to 14th Street.
“We need to get going on that part of the project and get a proposal there too,” the mayor added.
Several members of the business community were at Monday’s meeting and asked the council to approve the road project.
Dawn Surber– “As a retailer and tax collector I have seen Belleville progress a lot. I hope you will consider how you can make the road project work. I think we will miss out if we don’t get it done. It’s a real positive for our town.”
Sandy Cole– “I see nothing but positive. We’ve got to get this road built, it’s one of the most important things we can do as a town.”
Rod Woods– “You need to get this done in any way, shape or manner. It will continue to let us grow. It needs to be done as one project; construction costs are not going to go down.”
Dan Douglas– “I feel if you’re not prospering, you’re dying. We are interested in doing more in the community and have several projects going. Belleville has been good to us, far better than we’ve ever imagined. I see nothing but positive with this project but if you continue to wait, you will always be waiting for business.”
Heath Hoge– “This project can be done with a lot of local people. It is a great deal. I can tell you this, if you build this road, they (business and industry) will come.”
Following discussion and approval of the multi-phase project, city leaders instructed the engineer to create bid documents with a date of getting the project big in December. Councilman Mike Palmquist said things would move pretty quickly after that.
“I think we could be turning dirt in January,” he said. “That’s my goal.”