Council to vote on bridge, tax exemptions and eminent domain on 119th Street

By the end of this morning, city hall may be a step closer to building a new bridge and dam on the Arkansas River at Lincoln Street, acquiring property by eminent domain for a 119th Street widening and giving tax incentives to three companies.

The bridge and dam vote budgets $12.5 million, including more than $5 million in federal funding. As early as this winter, construction crews will begin building a new dam. Then they’ll likely tear down the existing bridge and dam, which are badly deteriorated.  A new bridge will be built along with pooling areas on the river’s edge for fish and kayaks to travel through. (See page 26 of this PDF for a conceptual rendering.)

The city’s plan to widen 119th Street between Pawnee and Kellogg involves taking nine tracts of land from private property owners. The move was on the council’s consent agenda, which is typically approved without discussion. But council members said Friday they want to be very careful about using eminent domain and moved the issue to the main agenda. A robust discussion is expected.

The council will also vote on property tax exemptions for Leading Technology Composites Inc., which builds parts for military vehicles and body armor plates for soldiers. The company has expanded and plans to add 39 new employees in the next five years. The exemptions save the company about $52,700 a year.

Council members plan to give a similar exemption to Burnham Composite Structures. They will also vote to set a Nov. 2 public hearing on a tax increment finance district that would help Rob Snyder finance a Save-A-Lot grocery store and strip mall at George Washington Boulevard and Pawnee, in the Planeview neighborhood.