By BILL SHEA
The crosstown connector project would be completed in 2017 with the construction of a roundabout intersection at First Avenue South and 12th Street under a plan introduced to the Fort Dodge City Council Monday.
Although it's included in a draft document called the capital improvement plan, the council would still have to approve actually doing the project and the two other downtown phases of the crosstown connector.
The crosstown connector project was expected to start this year with the reconstruction of First Avenue South between Eighth and 10th streets. However, a new council majority opposed to the project took office in January and no work was done.
Councilmen Dean Hill, Robert ''Barney'' Patterson, Mark Taylor and Don Wilson oppose the project. Councilmen Kim Alstott, Dave Flattery and Andy Fritz support it, as does Mayor Matt Bemrich.
A compromise brokered by Bemrich this year postponed the downtown work and accelerated work to prevent flooding in the area of the Crossroads Mall, which will start late next year.
Some council members have said they want next year's council election to be a referendum on the downtown project which will determine its future.
None of the council members attempted to remove it from the proposed capital improvement plan Monday. Flattery said it would be ''irresponsible'' to delay the project.
The proposed plan calls for connecting First and Second avenues south with a new curving section of road near Fourth Street in 2014. It calls for rebuilding the section between Eighth and 10th streets in 2015.
Those two phases of the project weren't discussed Monday. The prospect of creating a roundabout at First Avenue South and 12th Street was debated, however.
''Everybody I talk to - they don't want a roundabout,'' Taylor said.
Flattery said the intersection is a ''perfect fit for a roundabout.''
He added that there was a lot of public concern when the city's first roundabout intersection at 10th Avenue North and 32nd Street debuted. He said people are now used to driving in it and like it.
Taylor said the intersection job and the planned improvements on First Avenue South near Crossroads Mall should not be referred to as being part of the crosstown connector. He said that term is ''divisive.''
The crosstown connector wasn't the only project reviewed Monday. Scott Meinders, a civil engineer on the city staff, introduced these jobs as new additions to the capital improvement plan: