WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Community members in northeast Wichita are expected to share their concerns about power pole upgrades in their neighborhood on Thursday night.
A few years ago, some Wichitans were outraged after Evergy put up massive power poles in Riverside and A. Price Woodard/Murdock neighborhoods. The power company is hoping to avoid that happening again and is getting residents involved.
“I don’t think the community still wants Phase 2 to go through the neighborhoods,” District 1 councilman Brandon Johnson said. “They have a chance tonight to vocalize whether that current route or the Red Bud path is the right one.”
Phase 2 of Evergy’s transmission line upgrade starts with a community meeting, and this time around, the goal is for community members to play a more active role.
“We’ve definitely taken lessons learned from the first phase of the project into our processes and communications,” Kaley Bohlen, Evergy communications manager, said.
The first option in the newest phase will follow the existing 60-year-old route near Wichita State University and will use a combination of steel and wooden poles. Johnson said community members hope to get the power poles and lines moved out of their yards. The second option will move the transmission line from running through the neighborhood to lining the Redbud Trail.
“Evergy did come to the district advisory board,” Johnson said. “They did go to the A. Price Woodard/Murdock Neighborhood Association, but there were no pictures.”
Johnson believes this information will give people an opportunity to make better-informed decisions.
“Folks knew an upgrade was coming,” Johnson said, “but that could just be a new cable that could be taken out this old, splintered pole, putting in a new skinny one.”
The goal of the meeting is to give community members a full range of options to make informed decisions. Evergy hopes to make positive changes.
“We’re looking at our design and construction standards and urban areas,” Bohlen said. We’re also looking at what options we can do to help minimize our impact while still maintaining reliable and safe power for the community.”
For community members who are unable to attend tonight’s meeting, there is a survey on Evergy’s website for people to give their opinions. The survey will close on Sept. 1.