HOISINGTON — Clayton D. Williamson, Hosington’s mayor for 15 years prior to his retirement from that position in 2017, passed away on June 17. Current Mayor Dalton Popp issued a proclamation that was read at Williamson’s funeral service on Friday, June 21, designating June 24 through 30 as Mayor Williamson Week.
City Manager Jonathan Mitchell also met with the family to discuss ideas for a memorial.
As a member of Hoisington’s First United Methodist Church, Williamson was active on the committee that adopted Pride Park on the east side of the city, and pushed to make needed improvements. The church was successful in raising money and building a playground, but fell short of getting a shelter built.
Last year, the council set aside money for park improvements.
“One idea that was talked about was a Mayor Williamson Memorial Pavilion in that park,” Mitchell said. He suggested the area in between the playground and the basketball courts as a prime location.
He asked if the council would support the staff researching the idea.
“I don’t know if we would actively fundraise for that or use some of the park improvement funds, we need to see how much a pavilion costs,” Mitchell said. “Some of the folks in the Williamson family said it would be a tremendous honor and they would be supportive of that.”
The council agreed additional research would be welcomed.
Cross Winds partnership gets nod
Members of the Cross Winds of Kansas Bikers Church were at the meeting, and asked the council to consider partnering with them to complete renovations to facilities at Heritage Park, located on the west side of the city.
The church recently moved into the building that formerly housed the Living Joy Church. On a recent Sunday, the congregation met at Heritage Park for an outdoor service. They’d like to repeat the experience, but access to facilities needs to be addressed. Currently, the bathrooms are boarded up and unusable.
They proposed an arrangement with the city to provide labor if the city would provide materials, similar to the recent arrangement with an Eagle Scout project at Pride Park on the east side of the city.
“We’re also going to look into grants to get playground equipment,” a representative said, “There’s more to it than just the bathroom, we’re looking for a future.”
The council was favorable, and it was noted that one city council member, Travis Sinn, is a member of the church. The council approved of Mitchell continuing a dialogue with the group.
On a related note, as the city looks towards the next fiscal year, Mitchell presented an idea for members to consider which may be on a future agenda. He proposed decreasing the size of Heritage Park, and converting the east two-thirds of the park into free housing lots.
“We would possibly take some of the old shelters and old playground equipment out make that available for housing, as the buildable lots on the north side of the city have been utilized,” he said.
The basketball courts and restrooms and the east shelter would remain, as would other nicer features of the park.
“We haven’t given that park the attention it needs,” he said. “I heard a remark from one council person who said, ‘I’d rather have two really nice, well maintained parks, instead of three that are somewhat maintained.’”
He also noted that in the coming year, Bicentennial Park is set to have several thousands of dollars of improvements poured into it, and is destined to become the city’s premiere park.
He anticipates four to six lots could be created there, and based on the existing homes in the area, they would be valuable, sought after lots.
Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Hoisington City Council meeting Monday night:
• Approved the consent agenda which included a mayoral proclamation for Mayor Williamson Week as June 24-30, and the approval of cereal-malt beverage consumption permits for a family gathering at the horseshoe pit shelter on July 13.
• Heard a presentation concerning the “Bring Back Cheyenne Bottoms” project from Ducks Unlimited, partnering with the Roadway Inn & Suites Marketing Committee. They requested $10,000 from the city’s transient guest tax fund.
• Discussed a request from Lana Kephart regarding extension of this year’s fireworks display times to include Friday, July 5.
• Discussed changes to the city’s salary and wage ordinance. The ordinance sets a range for a salary for each city position, with an entry level and top-end salary specified.
• Discussed council priorities for the 2020 budget.
• Heard an update from City Manager Jonathan Mitchell concerning a number of ongoing city projects including the wastewater lagoon project, fencing around the cemetery, swimming pool update and the start of work on Scentral Bark, the dog park being installed at the north side of Bicentennial Park.