OSAWATOMIE — The Main Street sidewalk project Osawatomie residents have been waiting for is set to begin soon now that city officials have closed out the second phase of the street’s rehabilitation.

The city used Kansas Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the Main Street project, which rehabilitated Osawatomie’s primary route between First and 12th streets.

The street improvements were finalized earlier this summer, and a final monitoring of the project recently found that the city was in compliance with the state and federal program. Osawatomie City Council members held a public hearing Sept. 5 to close out the project and move forward with the next step, which is installing sidewalks along Main Street between Seventh and 12th streets and along 12th Street between Main Street and Parker Avenue.

Council members agreed, during their Sept. 5 meeting, to authorize the city to enter into a contract with Kansas Heavy Construction to complete the sidewalk project for a total of $210,493.75.

The city officials decided not to request bids for the project because KHC was already the low bidder on the street pavement portion and already had equipment on site.

Council member Karen LaDuex wanted to make it clear to those in attendance that the only reason the sidewalk portion was being handled separately is that CDBG representatives would not allow the city to include the sidewalks in the initial contract.

Work on the sidewalk project is scheduled to begin in the next 15 to 30 days.

One Osawatomie resident did speak during last week’s public hearing to close out the CDBG funding of the Main Street project.

Suzie Tousey, who lives along Main Street, said water was coming into her basement so she hired local contractor Dean Inscore to redo her driveway at the same time the Main Street construction was taking place. She said she wasn’t informed that street crews would be changing the grade of her driveway, which she said now creates an issue where water will pool by her steps.

City Manager Don Cawby said the city’s obligation is to meet the existing grade of the driveway, and during the Main Street project Tousey’s driveway was torn out. The contractor then changed the grade, Cawby said, adding that the city was not informed about the project ahead of time.

Inscore said no permit is required to tear out a driveway, and he accused the city of retaliating against himself and Tousey by changing the grade. He also said he talked about his driveway project with crew members working on the Main Street project.

“Talking with the mailman is not like talking with the postmaster,” Cawby said.

Tousey said there is a potential agreement being discussed that would allow for her slope issue to be fixed, with her paying the cost of adding an ADA step to a neighbor’s residence that would also help fix the issue.

Mayor Mark Govea encouraged her to continue to pursue that agreement, and the council members took no action at the special meeting.

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