Wilmore City Council pushes back decision on Bellevue extension

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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In Wilmore’s City Council meeting this week, the body made a motion to extend its decision on the Bellevue extension project and settled on a time frame for paving projects to be completed around the city.

The Bellevue Extension Project is meant to provide improved accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists in the city.

Councilman Andy Bathje was the first to present this project to the current council and is the council’s sponsor for the proposal.

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“The Bellevue extension pathway proposal is to create a pedestrian-only sidewalk between the dead end and the extension of the same road,” Bathje said in an interview with the Journal last week. “If created, this (pathway) would allow residents of that neighborhood to walk or bicycle along the city-owned easement to commute to work or walk around the block.”

Right now, the path is blocked by a fence, and it has been for at least 60 years, according to Councilman Jim Brumfield.

Several Wilmore residents were at the meeting to air their concerns regarding the proposal. All concerns centered around drainage issues in the area, causing basements and yards of homes in the neighborhood to flood during rainstorms.

Resident Barry Bowler said that although drainage is already an issue, the fence acts as a sort of dam for surrounding homes. His concern is that taking this fence out and creating this pathway would create even more problems for three of his neighbors.

Two other residents agreed with Bowler and said they were worried about bicyclist safety on the pathway due to its steep hill.

Wilmore’s Director of Public Works, David Carlstedt, explained how this project would impact the drainage issues.

“The concise answer is we will ‘do no harm.’ The city is sensitive to the existing drainage issues the adjacent property owners have brought to our attention and our ‘pedestrian cut-through’ project will reinforce and supplement the surface drainage in place. A small culvert will continue to direct water through the natural swale and under the new path, and the new path will have a ‘knolled-shape; that will ensure no new water gets diverted down Bellevue Ave,’” Carlstedt said

Mayor Harold Rainwater ended the conversation with a warning to the council, stating that if it votes to open up the pathway, future residents and decision-makers may expect the ability to open up the road entirely.

“It’s not going to end with a pathway, and we all need to acknowledge that. We’re opening up a right-away,” Rainwater said

Bathje was not in attendance at this meeting. Due to his absence, the council voted to bring the issue back up for a decision at its next meeting on Monday, April 3, 2023, at 6 p.m. at 210 South Lexington Avenue.

The council also heard an update from Carlstedt about paving projects around the city.

Some city streets haven’t been paved since 1998-2004, Carlstedt said. These streets will be prioritized in the upcoming paving project. They include W Morrison St., Asbury Dr., Bellevue Ave., Hinkle St., W Barr St. and Hutchins Dr.

“If the budget allows, maybe Maxey St. and Akers Dr., W Morrison St., Asbury Dr., Bellevue Ave., Hinkle St., W Barr St. and Hutchins Dr.,” Carlstedt said.

Because the asphalt plant does not open until early April, and the asphalt contractors have already scheduled projects for the spring, Wilmore won’t be able to contract until later in the construction season. These projects will likely be started in late summer or fall.