Archive for Tuesday, April 22, 2008

City approves $33,700 for downtown study

April 22, 2008

After five months and four presentations, the fate of retail recruitment and retention along U.S. Highway 24-40 and on Fourth Street was left up to a five-member committee.

And on Monday night, the committee made its recommendation. It will now be up to the city of Tonganoxie and the planners at Bucher, Willis & Ratliff Corporation, the city's planners, to redevelop Tonganoxie.

Council member Tom Putthoff, who was on the committee, spoke to the council about the April 16 meeting where BWR was chosen.

"Unanimously we decided that BWR was the route we should go," Putthoff said. "We felt that this is what we needed to do for now and possibly look at a company like Buxton down the road. We felt that we needed a starting point."

The BWR proposal has a price tag of $33,700 and will include the core study, a communitywide survey, economic market study, community development meetings - called charrettes - and a final open house that will allow the community to have an input on the company's final report.

While the city was given the option to pick and choose different features to lower the cost, many on the council and those on the committee felt that the process needed to be done completely.

"If you are going to do it, you are going to have to do it right the first time," said Mike Vestal, Tonganoxie mayor.

Council member Jason Ward agreed with the mayor.

"I think it's in the city's best interest and the community's best interest for us to have something that is comprehensive," Ward said.

The council voted, 50, to approve the funding for the project. City Attorney Mike Kelly will need to look over the contract with BWR before final approval at today's special meeting.

Art Chambers, senior developmental specialist for BWR, said that once the contract was finalized it would take the company about six months to complete the project.

BWR was also the facilitator in the U.S. Highway 24-40 corridor study and in the city's comprehensive plan.

Serving on the committee that chose BWR was Bill Peak of the Tonganoxie Planning Commission, Chris Donnelly of the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce, Charles Ussery, Putthoff and Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator.

Skate Park

There was good news and bad news for the Tonganoxie skating community.

The good news: David Hamby of BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm, has finally come up with a new design for the Tonganoxie Skate Park that will incorporate many of the features requested by the skaters.

The bad news: The design that BG Consultants has come up with is $104,847 more than the $100,000 budgeted.

To solve this problem Hamby had split the project into two phases. The first phase would contain substantially less features, but would fit in this year's budget at a cost of $98,450. Phase II would complete the project at a cost of $121,135.

Many in the council had asked where the skater's contributions were, but Bill Jones, who along with his wife Jan, and his son Weston, have been supporting the new skate park didn't think it was reasonable to expect tens of thousands of dollars from the skaters.

"You are dealing with minor kids that have a full time job from 8 to 3 every day going to school and bringing their parents good grades, " Jones said. "That is more important than anything."

Council President Jason Ward said that the skaters have already done a lot of work to get he project where it was and he wanted the city to build as much of the skate park as possible now and to look the city finishing the project in the future to have a new facility for local youth.

"We are building a $3 million pool right now and we are talking about a $200,000 project and wanting maximum participation from a volunteer group," Ward said. "There is not a lot of equality there for me. I want these kids to have this recreational facility as much as I want the pool.

"We have committed ourselves to build this skate park. Let's just get it done."

The council unanimously voted to start on phase 1, but asked the skaters to continue to look for funds and donations to add to the amount of items that can be built in the first phase.

In other business the Tonganoxie City Council:

¢ Voted, 4-1, to pay Meadows Construction $13,237.02 for pay request number three on Pleasant Street improvements.

Kathy Bard, who along with Mike Kelly spoke about the sampler festival, said the committee that has done all of the legwork to bring the festival to the county would need to have finances in order before submitting their final application. The money will be come from a line item in the 2009 budget.

¢ Once again voted unanimously to renew a lease agreement between the city and Elder & Son, LLC. The 52.8 acres are being leased at $30 an acre. In September 2000 the city bought the acreage for $300,000 in the hopes of gaining a new source of water for the city.

¢ Unanimously approved to renew the city's dental coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield. There was an 11 percent increase in the renewal price because insurance usage by employees and their families was at 107.35 percent last year.

¢ Unanimously voted to pay Combes Construction $263,391.30 for pay request number seven for the new Public Works Facility.

¢ Listened to a request from Bill Jones to put the old Tonganoxie swimming pool slide up for bid.

¢ Unanimously approved to pledge $7,824.61 to help with the $108,451 shortfall in funding for the 2010 and 2011 Kansas Sampler Festival.

¢ Unanimously approved to enter into an interlocal agreement between:.

¢ Listened to an update from Connie Torneden about this year's Tonganoxie Days. She asked the council for an extra block to extend to the 200 block of Fourth Street. The extra space was going to be used for a motorcycle poker run. She said all proceeds from the poker run would go towards a fund for Devin Stuart.

Torneden also said that the poker run might become an annual event that will raise money for a local resident or a local organization. She also hinted at a possible chainsaw-carving contest that would include Russ Ehart.

¢ Approved a lease purchase on two 2008 Ford Crown Victoria police interceptors. The two vehicles at $28,040 will have their annual $19,589.54 paid for by the $20,000 earmarked in the 2008 budget for police vehicles. Olathe Ford beat out Ed Bozarth Chevrolet for the cost of two Chevy Impalas at $28,646 per vehicle. Olathe Ford has also offered $900 in trade-in value for the city's 1997 Crown Victoria.

¢ Unanimously approved ordinance no. 1255 that raised water rates by $.10. The new rates would be $6.46 for the first 1000 gallon and $4.17 for the next 1,000 gallons. The rate increase is the result of a rate increase from Public Wholesale Water District Number 6.

¢ Unanimously approved to extend the first repayment date of a $3,007,519 loan from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund for the new BPU waterline. The original first payment date was scheduled for Aug. 2008 and will be moved to Aug. 2009.

¢ Unanimously voted to have a special meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the council chambers. The meeting will revolve around the city council talking with the Leavenworth County Commission to discuss Leavenworth County Road 1 and the interchange to the Kansas Turnpike.

¢ Was told by Yanez that Rep. Nancy Boyda had the 14th Street improvement plans on her list of projects she wanted to fund this year. Yanez mentioned that no funding had been secured, but he wanted to thank the congresswoman for keeping the project under consideration.

¢ Was told by council member Crook that residents in the 900 block of Shawnee Street were tired of having to buy their own gravel to get into their driveways. She asked if the council would be willing to contribute money to finishing the street. Vestal said that as taxpayers, the residents on the street should have a paved road. Vestal said the city could look into putting that project in the city's 2009 budget. In the meantime, Crook wanted to see if the city could asphalt the street with extra asphalt from street projects.

¢ Was told by City Attorney Mike Kelly that he would hear sometime soon from lawyers from the Tonganoxie School District about an interlocal agreement between the city, the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission and the school board for the new baseball fields at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds. Kelly said he had received a letter form Superintendent Richard Erickson stating that the board did not want to take the responsibility if the commission defaults on payments.

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