City facing decisions on infrastructure
Tonganoxie City Council members on Monday discussed their role in infrastructure improvements needed as the local school district moves toward construction of a middle school southeast of Washington and Pleasant streets.
Brian Kingsley, representing the city's engineering firm, talked with council members about streets and a water tower that's planned near the school.
Kingsley told council members that it would make sense for the city to have a north-south street leading to the school district property. Pleasant Street is west of the school district's property.
Without such a street, Kingsley said, motorists will snake through residential developments, bringing unwanted traffic.
Council member Velda Roberts said she strongly favors upgrading East Street, which runs in front of Tonganoxie Nursing Center.
If a bridge is rebuilt over the creek, Roberts said, East Street could serve as a connector between Fourth Street and Washington Street -- and possibly continue along the east side of the school property south to the as-yet unbuilt 14th Street.
"I'm a real proponent for East Street," she said, adding, "We need additional ways to access downtown."
She said she views upgrading East Street as a communitywide issue.
Currently, Kingsley said, the school district is looking at two drives off Washington into the new middle school -- one at Starla Court, and the other near East Street.
He said he had no cost estimates for improving East Street or constructing a bridge over the creek.
"I don't think it would be a ridiculous amount of money," he said about the bridge.
Also on the drawing board is a new water tower that would sit on land donated by the school district. According to current plans, the water tower would be constructed just northeast of where 12th Street dead-ends.
Kingsley told council members the new water tower not only would serve the school but also increase water pressure in the southern portion of the city. And it would increase the amount of rural area that the city could serve with water.
"You can see it greatly increases the serviceable area in Tonganoxie," he said.
The water tower cost is estimated at $525,000, and the school district has pledged at least $150,000 toward its construction.
"How much value does the city place on this project and how much do you expect the school to participate?" Kingsley asked council members, who said they were not prepared to talk Monday night about money.
"If the city doesn't participate, it's going to be hard for the school district to build a school," said City Superintendent Butch Rodgers. "I think the water's going to be the defining factor on what happens."
In another infrastructure issue, Kingsley discussed the city's plans to construct a water line that would bring water from Kansas City, Kan.'s, Board of Public Utilities to Tonganoxie.
The city must secure land on which to build the line, and council members said Monday they wanted Kingsley and city staff members to talk with the Kansas Department of Transportation about building along Kansas Highway 24-40.
In other matters, city council members on Monday:
- Approved a bid of $70,615 from Bonner Springs Ford to purchase four trucks, which will replace existing city-owned vehicles.
- Set a work session for 6 p.m. Feb. 21 to discuss a variety of issues with city department heads, including salaries and the city's pay plan, along with upcoming projects. The work session, which is open to the public, will be held at City Council Chambers, 321 S. Delaware.
- Approved a special-use permit for the care of two children by Cheryl Sander at 120 S. Village Terr. The permit will be in effect for five years.
- Approved hiring Joseph Peel as a full-time firefighter. Peel, who has volunteered with the Tonganoxie City Fire Department for about three years, volunteered with Tonganoxie Township Fire Department for about eight years. Peel's salary will be $23,948, according City Clerk Kathy Bard.
- Approved the city's annual lease with Elder and Son LLC, 11997 206th St., Linwood, for farming of land the city owns west of Linwood. Elder pays the city the cost of liability insurance and property taxes or $30 an acre for each crop, whichever is greater.
- Tentatively set a special meeting for 8 a.m. next Tuesday during which council members will meet in executive session.