Potential federal funding of $ 43 million for floodplains

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The Post asked readers in August what questions they wanted to hear from candidates for mayor of Merriam and city council seats. Based on this feedback, we have developed a five-point questionnaire with the issues most important to residents of Merriam.

Each day this week, we’ll be posting contestants’ answers to one of the five questions. Today we are posting the candidates’ answers to the following question:

The heart of downtown Merriam lies in the Turkey Creek floodplain, which has hampered the region’s revitalization efforts for years. A proposal submitted to Congress could provide $ 43 million in funding for dikes that would remove it from the floodplain and allow for real redevelopment. What is your vision of downtown? What should the city government do to make this vision a reality?

Below are the responses the Post received from applicants on this question:

Mayor

Bob pope

I hope that downtown Merriam can become a place where people can work, play, eat, shop, play music, get their vehicle repaired or buy a new one and have fun. I think this area should become a place of destination. Above all, I think the region must respond to the wishes of our community. There are a lot of big companies out there in this field right now. They provide a lot of sales tax income. Many have been an integral part of our community for many years. We must consider their needs and support their growth. We currently have a training committee in downtown Merriam that researches the wishes of business and the community. I think it’s important to listen to what they find out and consider their ideas as we go along. We have to start by getting this area out of the floodplain. We are working with the Corp of Engineers to develop a dike plan estimated to cost $ 43 million. We have set aside $ 5 million and the county has an additional $ 8 million to meet that goal. We have a large expanse of land where the French Community Center Irene B. was located which can serve as a catalyst for the redevelopment. Let’s work together to determine the future of downtown Merriam.

Angel Lopez III

Did not respond.

Ward 2

Nancy hammond

Hopefully 43 million in funding has passed. We also have to deal with the railroad. There are a lot of hoops to go through to get the job done. Not to mention our old businesses that are near the floodplain. But through work and progress, I see big plans for the future. We have a lot of green space with our walking trails and parks that are already established. What we need is a redevelopment with new businesses that meet the needs of our community. I also see wall funding to bring beauty to downtown. Businesses that bring people together love stores that are suitable for all ages. I think the community should vote on the new art and maybe enter a contest to bring the community together. We need income in this area. The more income the better. We also have residents paying more insurance in surrounding neighborhoods living in a floodplain. I would act quickly to implement an action plan. I love to see our floodplain problems come to an end.

Amy Cavalier

Did not respond.

Ward 4

David Neal

Another function of a good local politician is to defend your city in its relations with higher level government entities. One of my priorities over the past 4 years as a member of Merriam City Council has been to advocate tirelessly for full funding of the previously approved Upper Turkey Creek Flood Control Project. This project will remove downtown Merriam from the century-old floodplain, preventing homeowners from modifying their existing buildings (other than aesthetically). The floodplain recession will allow downtown business owners to expand their businesses or sell to others who will. The Corps of Engineers approved the project over a decade and a half ago, but Congress has yet to fund the federal portion of the shared cost. Johnson County and the Town of Merriam have kept money in their budgets for their own portion of project funding for all of these years. Beginning with my first trip to Washington DC in March 2019 as the Kansas representative on one of the National League of Cities (NLC) Federal Advisory Committees, I made presentations every year to our 3rd House Member. District Council and the two Kansas Senators on project funding. . Representative Sharice Davids included federal funding for the design phase of the Upper Turkey Creek Flood Control Project in the House Infrastructure Bill passed earlier this year. Although the Senate bill did not list specific projects, I hope the final hard infrastructure bill will fund our flood control project.

As long as I can offer some suggestions to the landowners who actually control the existing downtown commercial property, hopefully we would eventually see a vibrant downtown with local merchants, restaurants, nightlife and a new mixed-use development that seeks to preserve the “main street” character of the neighborhood’s small town. It should be noted that my vision is only a reflection of my own desire. The recently completed Merriam Master Plan 2040 also offers some alternative visions for the region. As a strong supporter of public engagement, I believe that future redevelopment should be community driven. If I am re-elected, I will endeavor to find out what the community is considering before I vote to approve Incentive Funding for the City’s redevelopment.

Staci Chivetta

I am currently sitting on the Merriam Downtown Corridor Plan committee to find a vision on which the community comes together. The comprehensive plan, which was completed earlier this year, also gathered a lot of long-term ideas for the downtown corridor that could be incorporated into the plan that is currently being worked on. I think the most important thing to think about is that it’s a long game, it’s not something that can happen very quickly, but the fact that the city is working on a plan with the hope that floodplain work happens, we will have a plan to move forward with real development. I was also chair of the committee for 5701 Merriam Drive (site of the French Community Center Irene B.) and we developed a plan for this site that could easily be integrated into the overall vision of the downtown area. The bottom line is that we need to listen to our residents and current business owners in downtown Merriam to find a plan that really suits our city, downtown is so visible from I-35 that we could really make it a great destination for people from the outside. of the city too.

On Tuesday, we will publish the candidates’ answers to the following question:

Merriam town center has seen some major tenants leave in recent years, including the town’s only grocery store. The city has worked with the Confluence company on a comprehensive plan that suggests the possible redevelopment of the shopping center into a mixed-use area with housing and green spaces mixed with shops. What needs to happen to downtown in the years to come to make it a vibrant draw for residents of Merriam?

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