Kansas Landowner upset over T-WORKS Project
Eight Southeast Kansas highway modernization and expansion projects are being funded through T-WORKS, Kansas’ it’s a 10 year, $8 billion program.
The latest project is a four-lane freeway in Cherokee County, KS.
The Kansas Department of Transportation’s final proposal for the project will require property owned by Jane Starina.
“It’s beautiful. Just to think this could be destroyed is beyond me,” said Starina.
Starina was born and raised on the land in Cherokee County, where her family settled in 30’s after fleeing from Germany.
“They [family] became citizens, they learned the language, they gave to the land they paid their taxes,” said Starina.
KDOT formed an advisory committee, made up of local leaders in Cherokee County. After reviewing several plans the committee approved a four-lane freeway from U.S.400/U.S 166 junction on the west to the Missouri-Kansas state line on the east.
Starina would like to instead see U.S.166 expanded. KDOT officials say that was an option, but not the option county and city leaders agreed on.
“To do that, we would have to widen it out for right away to right away, and we would have to displace a lot of people,” said Chris Pross with the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Safety and economic development are top reasons for the project, but KDOT officials say they also had concerns, such as impacts to homes, businesses and access.
However in this case the needs of many are greater than the needs of few.
“I think everybody at the state understands her concern and we try to go through and do the best we can to mediate those concerns,” said Pross.
Starina won’t give up.
“I will continue to fight this. I may lose my land but I will not lose my voice,” said Starina.
The project will cost 38-million dollars.
Construction is set to begin in 2017 and is expected to be finished in 2019.