By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Commission OKs contract for K-4 overlook
Work on project will likely begin next summer
new deh county commission main pic
Above is the K-4 Scenic Overlook as it is now. Soon, the long-awaited viewing tower will become a reality. - photo by Tribune file photo

 Landfill gas not a viable commodity

During the discussion at last Monday’s Barton County Commission meeting on Northern Natural Gas’s pipelines, Commissioner Jennifer Schartz inquired about selling methane produced by decomposing trash at the County Landfill back to the company.

This week, Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock addressed the matter before commissioners. For now, he said, it is not feasible.

“It would be cost prohibitive,” he said. He estimated the cost to harness the gas at around a $1 million.

First, he said, the amount of methane produced is very small. Second, it is very dirty.

It would have to be captured, scrubbed and compressed before it would be usable by NNG.

However, he did say that at some point in the future, the gas could be used to help power the landfill.

 Construction on the long-awaited K-4 Cheyenne Bottoms Overlook Improvement Project will begin late next spring or early next summer, the Barton County Commission learned Monday morning.

The update on the project followed the commission’s approval of the county’s contract with the Kansas Department of Transportation for the overlook improvements. The work includes parking, handicapped accessibility and a handicap-accessible 10-foot-tall viewing tower.

County Administrator Richard Boeckman said the county partnered with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to submit a KDOT Transportation Enhancement Grant application. However, since Barton County is the lead agency, the contract is between the county and KDOT.

“The county has been working on the K-4 Overlook Project for several years now,” Boeckman said. Even though KDOT will let bids next spring, the original grants date back to 2013.

The total cost of the effort is around $380,000. But, the grant is an 80-20 matching grant so the county and the KDWPT will split the 20 percent matching portion.

“I think this is a good thing for the county,” said Commissioner Don Davis, acknowledging the efforts of Commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer in promoting the concept. “I’ll be glad when its all done.”

The tower located just off K-4 between Hoisington and Claflin will look more like a serpentine ramp that will be over 150 feet long with a series of landings along the way. This is necessary to make it handicapped accessible.

There will also be landscaping utilizing native grasses and flowers. The idea is to make a functional showpiece.

Down the road, there will be signs on K-4 marking the site. There may also be interpretive panels incorporated into the ramp telling the story of the bottoms.

The project also includes additional paved parking.

• Named Commissioner Alicia Straub as the county’s voting delegate to the Kansas Association of Counties annual conference Nov. 3 in Wichita. Jennifer Schartz and Davis were named first and second voting alternates for the meeting respectively. 

• Cast a ballot for Richard Malm, Jefferson County commissioner, to serve as a Kansas representative to the National Association of Counties Governing Board, 2015 – 2107 term.