Cass County Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox is hoping to get a revised cooperative agreement for the School Road project before new leadership takes over next month in Peculiar.
Peculiar aldermen approved a cooperative agreement nearly a year ago to make safety-driven improvements to School Road from Hubach Hill Road to 211th Street, a narrow, hilly 2.3-mile stretch without any shoulders.
Peculiar’s share would have been $1.2 million, or about 22 percent of the cost, but the financing plan fell apart when Raymore officials declined to participate, saying they couldn’t justify spending the money outside the city limits.
Cox then went to work on a different funding plan to improve the road that he’s been passionate about fixing.
The county leveraged its own funds last year to move forward with the first and second pieces of the three-phase project, and Cox has since come up with a different plan to fund the remainder.
Peculiar is being asked to help with a portion of roadway within its city limits. The proposal calls for Peculiar to chip in about $943,000 less than the county originally asked.
Meanwhile, the first two county-paid phases are moving forward, and construction should start this year.
Cox said he wants to get something in writing with Peculiar before Mayor Ernie Jungmeyer retires, and voters elect a new mayor aldermen on April 8.
“I would be extremely surprised if Peculiar wouldn’t agree to this,” Cox said.
It appears that the city will agree. On a 6-0 vote Monday night, the Board of Aldermen approved the proposal on first reading. A final vote is expected March 31.
“When I was on the school board,” Alderman Homer Dunsworth said, “I think we had one fatality and several near-fatality wrecks — it was incredible. Anybody who wants to go over when school starts or gets outs, and really wants to test their sense of adventure, go out on School Road.”
Dunsworth commended Cox for making the improvements happen.
“It’s death waiting to happen on that road out there,” he told Cox. “Hats off to you.”
Peculiar Mayor Ernie Jungmeyer said he hoped that in three to four years, “we’ll have a new road going down all the way from Peculiar to Raymore.”
It’s possible that the county and Peculiar will get a grant to cover a significant portion of the final phase. A proposed sidewalk along part of the road is expected to increase the chances for funding.
The road is estimated to be completed in 2016, unless the grant is awarded. Then the disbursement schedule of state money could push completion to 2017.