The first of eight community meetings was held at noon on Monday to discuss various street improvements around McPherson.

“Prior to 2010, only minor maintenance was performed, streets were very underfunded, and that put us into the position we are in now,” said Jeff Woodward, director of public works.

The city of McPherson has 87 miles of streets, and cost to reconstruct all streets that need it would exceed $11.5 million, so city representatives are gathering community input and data about which streets should be improved first.

These projects are currently funded by a half cent sales tax that generates $1.5 million annually. About 30 percent of this tax comes from out-of-town shoppers. The tax is up for renewal — not slated to increase — at elections of Nov. 7 this year. If passed, it will extend the tax from 2020 to 2030.

City representatives met with those living in quadrant 1 on Monday, the section northeast of Main Street and Kansas Avenue, at this meeting and will meet with those in quadrant 2 on Tuesday, quadrant 3 on July 24 and quadrant 4 on July 25. There will be meetings at noon and at 5:30 p.m. at the McPherson Museum each day.

To determine which streets should be at the top of the list, the public works department uses a street prioritization formula that takes into account items like quality of pavement, amount of traffic and how quickly the road deteriorates.

In quadrant 1, proposed projects are East Northview Avenue, from Main Street to North High Drive; East Hulse Street, from Main Street to North High Drive; North Oak Street, from Kansas Avenue to Euclid Street; Lakeside Drive, from Kansas Avenue to Maxwell Street; and North Cherry Street, from First Street to Hill Street.

These projects are proposed based on the street prioritization formula, and residents are encouraged to share input on which they believe to be the most important or suggest other streets they believe to be better candidates.

Also in this quadrant, Woodward discussed improvements scheduled for Grimes Street outside of the meeting’s focus.

Grimes Street has been designed for a total reconstruction from First Street to Hulse Street, with work set to begin next year. The reconstruction will include adding closed conduits and inlets under the street and working with the drainage ditches near McPherson High School. The street will also be widened slightly and conversations about additional stop signs will be held at a later time.

“Fixing the drainage issue on grimes will help that whole area,” Woodward said.

To share input or for more information, contact the McPherson Public Works office at 620-245-2545.

Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at cderksen@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.