KANSAS, USA — At a District 1 Advisory Council meeting Monday night, residents voiced their opposition to the construction of a power transmission line near the Redbud Bike and Pedestrian Trail. The transmission line between the Wichita State University substation and the 9th and Hillside substation is aging, so Energy plans to replace it. Steel poles should be put in place to support the new line.
More than a dozen people attended the meeting out of concern for the neighborhood and their property values with regard to the poles. “They’re so inappropriate for a neighborhood,” said Kim Curry, whose property abuts the Redbud Trail. We have a golf course, a bike path and a place dedicated to black history. It is magnificent in its beauty. Everything in the area will be destroyed.
Proposed pole locations include East 17th Street North and a section of the Redbud Walkway connecting Hillside and Oliver. According to Kaley Bohlen, director of communications for Energy, the height of the poles has not yet been decided. Local Andrew Herr suggested a more permanent solution: bury the wires. “How much does it cost to bury the lines? Of course, replied Herr, “everything is expensive.” But I bet a lot of us here lost money or went broke in the last year. But who hasn’t?
According to a letter sent by Every to neighbors who would be affected by the project, the transmission line update is necessary to “ensure that the equipment meets modern standards of reliability and safety. “The power company surveyed residents in the fall to gauge their opinion of two possible routes for the new transmission line. One would be on the Redbud trail, and the other was along residential streets like Volutsia and 16th.
Bohlen said the percentage of votes cast for each route was very close to equal. According to an April email she sent to KMUW, she explained that “Evergy and the City of Wichita used these results and worked together to choose the route with the least impact on customers, which was determined to be the Redbud Trail.” However, several residents believed the poll pitted neighborhoods against each other in the fight to have the transmission line removed.
“It’s neighborhood versus neighborhood,” said former city council member Lavonta Williams. The author “tries to say not at my house, but at theirs”. City Council Member Brandon Johnson recently said that all transmission lines in Kansas are currently being updated by Evergy, including the line that passes through the Eastborough and Rockwood areas near Douglas and Rock.
According to Evergy’s survey results, the neighborhood prefers brown weathered steel poles to silver galvanized steel poles, so that’s what they’ll be installing. Westar Energy, now Evergy, placed 105-foot transmission line poles in yards near 9th and Grove in a similar transmission line project in 2018. This attempt to get community input follows the project. The poles were a source of contention for many neighborhood residents. Late Kansas Rep. Gail Finney responded to public outcry by passing a bill requiring utilities to hold open houses before they could use eminent domain to build an urban power transmission line. .