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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • City officials seek to beautify east entrance to city

  • McPherson residents may have seen some unfamiliar limestone structures that have gone up along Kansas Avenue and at the First and Centennial roundabout.
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  • McPherson residents may have seen some unfamiliar limestone structures that have gone up along Kansas Avenue and at the First and Centennial roundabout.
    The stones are part of the city's Front Porch Project, which is aimed at beautifying the city's east entrance.
    McPherson Mayor Tom Brown organized a committee of residents two-and-a-half years ago to look at possible options for the East Kansas Avenue entrance. The $165,000 project is being paid for through donations. No tax dollars are being used.
    Four large limestone pillars have been mounted on East Kansas Avenue between Centennial and Interstate 135.
    Columns along the frontage road near Montana Mike's and Applebee's will greet visitors to McPherson and wish them farewell as they leave.
    The pillars on the north and south side of the corner of First and Centennial next to McDonald's and Taco John's will be directional markers for major destinations within the city.
    The exact designs and verbiage for the signs has yet to be determined.
    The original design included landscaping around the pillars, but city officials are considering lighting the pillars instead so they can be seen at night.
    Stones have been placed at the roundabout at First and Centennial streets, but the stones are not in their final positions. A crane will be brought in during the coming weeks to place the stones in their final positions. Four of the stones will form spokes around the larger stone that will be mounted as a vertical column. A wind sculpture will be mounted on top of the pillar. Landscaping also is a possible part of the beautification process at that location.
    Jeff Woodward, city public works director, said the city designed the structures with traffic safety and line of sight issues in mind.
    Traffic at the roundabout is designed so drivers must watch for traffic coming from their left. The new limestone structure should not impede that line of sight, he said.
    The last piece of the project will be an arch over Kansas Avenue east of the railroad overpass. This will likely have limestone facing on the pillars.
    Nick Gregory, city administrator, said many people enter McPherson and think east Kansas Avenue is all there is to the city. Community leaders hope the project will help draw people downtown and to other city attractions.
    "We have a beautiful city beyond the interstate," he said.
    Brown said the Front Porch Project had multiple goals.
    The project will add to the aesthetics of the east entrance of the city. The directional stones will help guide people with signage the city does not have now.
    "Also we want to draw people into the city and downtown," Brown said. "Another aspect of this you could say is an economic development factor."
    Page 2 of 2 - The stone structure at the roundabout is supposed to be set in place by the end of February. The directional stones likely will be completed within the next couple of months. If the city decides to landscape around the structures, that will be done this spring. The arch is scheduled to be completed within the next year.

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