Residents applaud road work, but wanted ‘heads up’
A small group of West Second Street residents utilized the open agenda portion of Monday’s city council meeting to voice concerns about what they characterized as a lack of communication between the city and the street’s residents.
West Second residents Randy Gilliam, Brady Mikijanis and Harold Barnett told the council they were happy to see the project improve their block but all had trouble with what effect the construction had on their driveways and mail delivery.
Gilliam told the council he was unaware of the work in front of his home until it was under way, and said he would have liked “a head’s up.”
Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, said letters were sent out and should have been received by residents on the street.
Calling the work a “great project,” Gilliam said his chief complaint was the lack of communication. He also had issue with the removal of mailboxes on the street, which meant residents had to go to the post office to receive their mail. Both Gilliam and Mikijanis said that inconvenienced people like them whose work hours don’t coincide with the post office’s hours of operation.
Mike Yanez, city administrator, said he talked with the postmaster and other options for receiving mail included stopping at the post office during business hours, buying a P.O. box, signing a form that authorized another person to pick it up or having it delivered to another residence.
Then there was the issue of Gilliam’s driveway. He said work on a drainage ditch next to his house was going to cause him to lose “half his driveway,” and he needs it all with three automobiles.
Mikijanis said the lowering of Second Street had caused the slope problems with the residents’ driveways and the angle was so steep on his gravel driveway that his girlfriend couldn’t drive her car on it without scraping its undercarriage.
Council President Jason Ward recommended to Yanez that the city engineer meet with all the people, including the three citizens in attendance, with an affected driveway.
Yanez said the project should be completed in three to four weeks.
With some analysis and persuading, a national motel chain could end up in Tonganoxie.
Yanez recommended the council use Rich Caplan and Associates to conduct a marketplace study for the city focused on the lodging industry.
The council approved the Caplan proposal of $3,500 by a vote of 4-1 with Councilmember James Truesdell opposed.
The study, Yanez said, will suggest what size of hotel would be feasible given the city’s infrastructure and could be used to recruit a national chain to Tonganoxie.
Truesdell said he would like to see the Caplan proposal in person or at least look into other bids. Yanez said he worried other communities could jump in and beat the city to the punch if it didn’t act right away. Ward said the bidder’s familiarity with the area and the focus of the study made its approval a logical choice.
In other action, the council:
• Voted, 4-0, to approve Ordinance 1285, amending Ordinance 1252 pertaining to the semi-annual lease payment agreement between the City of Tonganoxie, USD 464 and the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission not to exceed $200,000.
TRC had originally asked the city to borrow $600,000 for new ball fields at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds but now needs $200,000 more for lighting material and installation.
TRC had already made three semi-annual payments of roughly $36,000 toward the ball field construction.
The agreement won’t take affect until the TRC, USD 464 and the city can sign off on it, which should occur by the end of this week. The Tonganoxie School Board also approved the ordinance at its meeting Monday.
Councilmember Tom Putthoff, an a TRC employee, abstained from voting.
• Unanimously approved Ordinance 1286, the annexation of future industrial park property. The property, owned solely by the city, officially becomes part of the city with annexation.
• Voted, 4-1, to approve an amendment to the U.S. 24-40 and Main project to extend quantities in the project to provide for new asphalt surfacing to the end of the bridge contingent upon county participation. The city will pay King Construction $30,360.29 for the work if the county agrees to pay $6,256. Putthoff opposed.
• Voted, 4-1, to approve an agreement with KDOT committing matching funds in the amount of $28,100 for the Northstar Drive and US 24-40 Highway pedestrian flashing beacon system. Putthoff opposed.
• Voted, 4-1, to approve Supplemental Agreement No. 1 between the city and KDOT for the Northstar pedestrian crosswalk light project. Putthoff opposed.
• Approved, 5-0, Addendum No. 1 for engineering services to include additional design services — not to exceed $15,000 — to modify existing construction plans for the replacement of the Pleasant Street bridge.
Originally, there was a concern that construction would not allow easy access on the opposite side of the bridge for multiple months, but under a new plan, the bridge should be closed just two to three weeks.
• Unanimously approved appropriation in the amount of $9,164.97 to the Leavenworth County Port Authority for work completed on the preliminary engineering study of a future industrial park.
Yanez told the council industrial park preliminary engineering analysis would be unveiled at a Sept. 21 LCDC
• Unanimously approved appropriation in the amount of $116,909.30 to King Construction for work completed at U.S. 24-40 and Main Street.
• Unanimously approved appropriation in the amount of $64, 327.28 to Meadows Construction for work completed at Second and Cox streets.
• Unanimously approved a special event application for the Tonganoxie Historical Society involving a Civil War re-enactment.
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