After receiving several requests from residents living in the Trondheim area about extending the existing road to the west toward 20th Avenue, Kenyon City Council member Molly Ryan decided it was time to bring it to the council’s attention.
“There’s only one in and out for the whole Trondheim division,” Ryan, who lives in the Trondheim neighborhood, said during the Oct. 12 City Council meeting. “The roads been blocked a few times, and in my opinion I think there’s a community concern. All it takes is one time when an emergency vehicle can’t get up there for some reason.”
A resident in that area for 10 years, Ryan said the number of houses that have been put up within those years is “crazy.”
City Engineer Derek Olinger began the discussion at the City Council meeting by providing some information for the council to consider. Olinger said the new roadway length would be just under half a mile, and would cost approximately $1 million to $1.5 million to put in a gravel road, and cost $1.5 million to $2 million for a paved road. Both cost estimates don’t include sanitary sewer and water extensions, which would increase the project costs significantly.
Without the extension of utilities, City Administrator Mark Vahlsing said the project would be mostly paid for by the property tax levy.
Olinger added that the project would likely be a three- to five-year time commitment, as there’s a lot that has to be sorted out beforehand, like preliminary layouts, survey and environmental assessment, land acquisition, rezoning and platting, design and construction.
Through his years Mayor Doug Henke has been on the council, he too, has been approached about this same road extension. By creating a road, he said there could be the possibility of a developer coming in and looking to expand.
“We have a lot of housing in that area, and have an industrial park up and online now,” said Henke. “I think this is something we should look at. Instead of keeping it on the back burner, we should move it closer to the front burner.”
In talking with the farmer who rents the land to the west of the area, Henke suggested following the edge of the woods and connecting up to Deer Ridge Road, instead of cutting through the middle of the land.
Olinger said a secondary route would also change the traffic pattern, and possibly create more traffic than there is currently.
Council member Dan Rechtzigel said a conversation also needs to take place with the township, which would receive more traffic on 20th Avenue.
“We can’t push the traffic out on them without some agreement in place,” said Rechtzigel. “It seems clumsy to go through all the work to blacktop it and have it stop in the middle of a gravel road. I agree there’s too many houses up there for one access. I think we need to, at some point, get where we can have an opportunity for emergency vehicles at the least to get up there. There’s definitively a lot to go into this, it’s not going to happen overnight.”
In the short term, Vahlsing felt a gravel road would work best, which would make it would be easier for future developers to cut into and install utilities.
Regardless of whether the road is gravel or paved, Ryan said it would provide another way in and out.
As for the next steps, Vahlsing suggested putting this item on the November meeting agenda, and looking at amending the city’s 10-year-infrastructure plan. Though it could impact other projects already in the plan, the council could place the project wherever it would fit best.