Frankfort Independent Schools may sell a small piece of land to bring the TIGER Grant project to fruition.
Chuck Knowles, the TIGER grant project manager, reviewed how construction on the Second Street Corridor could affect Second Street School at the school board's Monday night meeting. He said that the project, which has local and federal funding of over $12 million, is expected to be finished by August 2022.
The project, as of recent preliminary designs, will use about 2,000 square feet of land near the driveway entrance to the elementary school's parking lots to provide a lane for right turns and redirect the opening of Hawkins Drive away from the intersection of Louisville Road and Taylor Avenue.
Knowles said that negotiations on the sale and price of the land would happen later after the board considers the request. Board Members Jina Greathouse and Becky Barnes asked to see measurements of the area to find how it would impact use of the school's flagpole, which is between the street and the gym. Greathouse said that several student groups use the flagpole as a meeting space and the land in question is close to the pole.
Redesigns of Second Street, such as decreasing the road from three lanes to two and expanding the sidewalk, could also affect the school. With the decrease of lanes, school board members had concerns about the safety of the crossing guard who directs traffic during school pickup and drop-off times. As of now, the guard stands in the turn median behind his car, but without that median, he would have to stand closer to traffic.
"It's my understanding that he, personally, has agreed to stand on the yellow line and do that work," Greathouse said. "Now, I've been down there several times at both pickup and drop-off times and watched that. I'd like to know who has liability for him ... because there's no place for him to stand, but we've got to have somebody there to keep the traffic flowing.”
Board member Amelia Berry proposed decreasing the expansion of part of the sidewalk on the school's side of the street so space within the double-yellow line could be extended. FIS wants to continue having a traffic guard at the school during peak traffic times. Knowles said in the meeting that he didn't see an issue with that solution and that he would continue to look into it.
FIS must also consider a permanent utility easement for the possibility of running all utility lines, such as telephone wires, in the ground instead of on posts in the air. Some of the proposed lines will be on school property; the easement will mean that the school district owns the property but utility workers can come in for maintenance, Knowles said. He added that maintenance will not be needed as often with above-ground poles, as work for weather or fallen trees knocking over poles will be eliminated.
Knowles said that approval of the preliminary design will come before the Frankfort City Commission at its Aug. 26 meeting.