Archive for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cleanup work continues this week on former Tonganoxie police station

April 22, 2014

Residents stopped.

Some took photos.

Passersby had to get a glimpse of a longstanding fixture in downtown Tonganoxie in its final days.

City crews tore Thursday into the former police station at Fourth and Delaware that previously served as the public library.

With the help of a backhoe, city crews made quick work of the building Thursday, knocking down walls and hauling out debris.

“It was a pleasant surprise to find out how smooth it came down,” said Tonganoxie City Administrator Nathan McCommon.

He said there were areas that required extra care, such as the vertical beam that stood at the southwest corner of the building, outside the main entrance to the former police station.

McCommon said officials studied the beam for some time to determine a way to “get it down without any hitch,” he said.

“I would say overall it was a pleasant surprise,” McCommon said. “I don’t know of obstacles actually.”

Actually beginning the project was a different story.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment delayed the project as it reviewed the disposal site.

KDHE approved the city’s site, which is the Hamm landfill near Perry.

Someone also anonymously called the project into KDHE, McCommon said at the April 7 city council meeting. The rescheduled project also was delayed a day last week due to the threat of high winds.

Crews are finishing up this week cleaning up the site and filling in the basement with soil.

The downtown space’s future now rests with the City Council.

Members briefly discussed how the space could be utilized.

Councilmember Bill Peak said he envisions the spot as a park area with benches. He thought the city’s Christmas tree could be displayed there in the future. In previous years, the tree has been displayed farther west in an open courtyard area in the 400 block of Fourth Street.

Peak said he did not favor an idea Mayor Jason Ward previously mentioned: converting the space into covered police parking.

At Monday’s meeting, Ward said he welcomed other ideas and that his suggestion merely was a starting point for discussion.

He also said the council didn’t need to rush in making a decision because the city has no money in 2014 earmarked for the project.

But Peak, who is a member of the city’s Retail and Commercial Development Committee, said money could be available from that group’s budget.

Early estimates for the building’s demolition stood near $10,000. McCommon said he didn’t have final figures, but it looked “promising” that expenses would be near that figure.

Expenses are backhoe rental, asbestos inspection, engineering analysis and dumping fees. McCommon said

We have to pay for the backhoe rental, asbestos inspection, engineering analysis, and dumping fees.

The city first hired an asbestos specialist who provided a clean report. KDHE also inspected for asbestos and gave a passing report.

Peak, who voted against the demolition, said he heard positive responses from residents about the city’s work on the project. He said residents thought city workers were very good. There wasn’t any negativity.

“I think that’s a high compliment,” he said.

Cold temperatures this past winter caused the discharge pipe from the building’s sump pump to freeze. Water also electrical service to the building’s furnace, leaving it beyond repair.

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