Archive for Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tonganoxie groups continue to evaluate future options for shared buildings

April 22, 2015

Several local entities are trying to get ducks in a row as they look to move forward with upgrading facilities.

Tonganoxie City Council Member Kara Reed gave a PowerPoint presentation Monday during the council meeting.

She, along with fellow Council Member Jim Truesdell, are on the local infrastructure committee with representatives from the school district, recreation commission, library board and police department.

One by one, representatives discussed challenges they’re facing.

Many talked about more space needed for storage and work area.

Police Chief Jeff Brandau spoke about the interview rooms not being soundproof at the current location across from City Hall, while USD 464 Superintendent Lyn Rantz told of the district office having a pest issue and lacking a reception area as visitors walk in, along with other space limitations.

Recreation Commission assistant director Brad Eccles spoke about the organization continuing to increase its offerings and participation numbers, but lacking space for coach’s meetings and other occasions at TRC’s office on Fourth Street.

David Frese, board member with the Tonganoxie Public Library, said the library is outgrowing its space, especially its technology offerings. He said the library also is smaller than libraries in area communities with similar populations.

There is the potential for TRC to move into the current elementary school if it is repurposed, but Eccles said things seem to be up in the air right now with the company contemplating the renovations. The company has been looking to repurpose much of the building as a retirement community, with TRC taking the north gymnasium and some classrooms.

All entities have space needs, and Truesdell pushed for some short-term improvements for the police department, as any new facility or facilities likely are two or three years away at the least.

Officials reiterated that they would like to partner with other departments to provide one building that could house all or some departments and help drive down costs with some shared amenities.

At the same time, departments are looking at other options. Rantz, for instance, talked about land on the U.S. Highway 24-40 curve west of the high school as a possible area for a central school district office or a combined facility.

The discussion is ongoing and definite plans still are down the road, but committee officials plan to keep meeting regularly to formulate a plan.

ELECTED OFFICIALS SWORN IN

Tonganoxie City Administrator Nathan McCommon swore in two council members and the mayor during Monday’s regular meeting.

Mayor Jason Ward took his oath of office before new council member Curtis Oroke and Reed, the second incumbent alongside Ward, recited the oath.

CITY COUNCIL HONORS OUTGOING MEMBER

The Tonganoxie City Council also honored a member who’s term ended this month.

Council members presented Bill Peak with an award recognizing his years of service to the city.

Peak joined the council in 2010 when he was appointed. He won election in 2011 and decided to run for mayor this year instead of seeking another term on the council. Ward, the incumbent, defeated Peak by just roughly 30 votes.

Ward, as well as council members, thanked Peak for his service to the city, which included a stint on the Tonganoxie Planning Commission.

“Bill, I just want to say thank you so much for all of your service to the council and the city,” Ward said. “Just your general willingness to help our community step forward.”

Jim Truesdell told Peak that he had put in many hours “looking into things and helping the council as a whole,” while fellow member Chris Donnelly had similar sentiments.

“Bill has spent an awful lot of his own time on the city working different things,” Donnelly said. “I feel if we all spent that much time, we’d probably be in a lot better place.”

Andy Gilner told Peak that he’d learned a lot from him, while Reed echoed the other council members’ comments.

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