McPherson representatives discussed various street improvements to the northwest area of town at Tuesday’s community meetings. These are the third and fourth of eight meetings scheduled to gather community input about which streets should be improved first.

The city of McPherson has 87 miles of streets, and cost to reconstruct all streets that need it would exceed $18 million.

“These are very expensive projects,” said Jeff Woodward, director of public works. “For several years, the streets were underfunded and that’s put us into this position today, but we’ve made a lot of progress with the half cent sales tax since then.”

Street projects are currently funded by a half cent sales tax that generates $1.5 million annually. About 30 percent of 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 2 on Tuesday, the section northwest of Main Street and Kansas Avenue, at this meeting and will meet with those in quadrant 3 on July 24 and quadrant 4 on July 25 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.

“The map looks a little bit lopsided,” Woodward explained. “Though the eastern side is larger, there’s a lot of newer construction over there and they’re in pretty good shape. The western side is smaller and has a lot of older streets so it works out to be a pretty even division.”

In quadrant 2, proposed projects are West Northview Avenue, from Main Street to US Highway 81; West Marlin Street, from Main Street to Walnut Street; Penn Drive, from Main Street to Dover Road; Fourth Street, from Main Street to Walnut Street; and Walnut Street from Northview Avenue to Main 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.

Many residents at several meetings pointed out that the railroad track crossings are very rough. Woodward explained that the railroad companies are responsible for the crossings and the city has been working on getting the companies to address the crossings.

“We’ve built the relationships and got a few crossings done 10 years ago, but we’re still working on those relationships to get them to come back and get the rest done,” said McPherson Mayor Tom Brown.

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.