At their regular study session Monday afternoon, City of Ottawa commissioners considered moving the path of an alley that has long run through private property.
Michael Haeffele, director of public works, informed commissioners the city has an opportunity to enter an agreement with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to use KDWPT land directly adjacent to the Prairie Spirit Trail to move the first alley west of Main Street between 15th and 17th streets closer to the rail trail.
The alley currently provides parking and access to the Ottawa Teen Park, 202 W. 15th St., along with rear access to several Main Street buildings.
The move would shift the alley’s path off private land in the area. The alley’s path has been a subject of contention for some time, city staff said. The move will also allow the city to avoid purchasing the land along the alley’s current path, a solution put forward by the current landowners.
“This is a cheaper alternative for the city,” Haeffele said. “It will just cost time and material to move the alley closer to the trail.”
Haeffele said that if approved, drainage in the area would have to be addressed as the project moves forward.
“On the south end of it, there is (currently) somewhat of a ditch/waterway, but there is not much there,” he said. “When we do move it over, we will make sure we have a specified flow there, either from north to south or south to north.”
For transitioning maintenance and usage to the new alley path, Haeffele floated the possibility of simply allowing the old path to go fallow, maintaining the new path of the alley and potentially scraping gravel off the old path and onto the new path.
Commissioners plan to vote on entering the agreement at their regular meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.