Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
* Blake Wornkey received a service award marking five years with the Ellinwood streets department.
* Mel Waite, a representative from Be Well Barton County, presented a check to Mayor Irlan Fullbright in the amount of $2,082.03. It was Ellinwood’s share of excess grant money awarded to the group to conduct a Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan for the county earlier this year. Funds will be earmarked for use in implementing improvements related to the master plan. Interim City Manager Chris Komarek indicated it may be used for improvements to the crosswalk at the intersection of Main Street and Santa Fe Ave., once work currently being done along Santa Fe by KDOT is completed.
* The council appointed Kerry Ringwald to the Ellinwood Recreation Commission for a four year term. Ringwald will take the place of a representative whose term is expiring. The commission is made up of five members, two of which are appointed by USD 355, two by the City of Ellinwood, and one at-large. The council’s decision was based off a recommendation from the current members of the commission. One other potential applicant had approached Komarek recently. In the future, a list will be kept of those interested in serving. These people will be informed when openings become available. The next seat allotted to the city will open in 2019.
* The council authorized Mayor Irlan Fullbright to sign an amended agreement for consideration of a railroad right of way for relocation of a sewer line running down the middle of Santa Fe Ave. The agreement is between the city and the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad. The original agreement included what was described by Peter as an “extreme insurance requirement” of $5 million liability coverage which would add an additional cost to the city of $3,500 annually. The new agreement will allow the city to continue to have it’s present $2 million in coverage. The new agreement is reflective of the good relationship between the city and the railroad, Peter said.
ELLINWOOD - Ellinwood’s City Council considered two offers to purchase the building located at 104 N. Main Street Tuesday night. The building was located adjacent to two condemned buildings purchased by the city in 2014 at a tax sale. Hoping to demolish the buildings and free up space on Main Street for new construction, the city halted work when it became apparent that the demolition put 104 N. Main at risk for damage. Ultimately, the owners of the building sold the property to the city, and the demolition was completed. Once the project ended and the exposed side of the building was shored up and protected from the elements earlier this year, the city offered it for sale.
The two offers came from Chris McCord, who offered $4,000, with the intention of turning the property over to the Ellinwood Historical Society for use as a museum. A representative from the society, Joe S., was present and informed the council that the decision to accept the gift was up to the membership, and there had not been enough time to inform them and receive feedback about whether or not to move forward. The earliest possible date they could report back to the council would be by the November meeting.
The second offer was advanced by Chris Batchman for $5,000. In his letter of intent, he stated he planned to use the building for office space.
Council members discussed the pros and cons of both offers. With the city already losing money, Alan Brauer, Kirk Clawson and James McCormick felt they would rather see the building go to a good cause. Ken Lebbin, on the other hand, felt the city needs to divest itself of the property as soon as possible for the highest amount possible, and motioned to accept Batchman’s offer. The motion died for lack of a second.
Further discussion ensued, and Fullbright stated that he felt with the extensive repairs needed, the city would be doing a disservice to the society if they accepted McCord’s offer. However, he had no vote in the matter, he acknowledged. Lebbin also asked if there would be any conflict with a common stairway between the building at 104 and its neighbor when it came time to exchange the title. Ellinwood’s City Attorney, Bob Peter, was not aware of any problem, but agreed to look into the matter further.
The council opted to table their decision until the November meeting, when they could hear back from the Ellinwood Historical Society. They also approved a motion to inform Batchman of the new date, and allow him the opportunity to amend his offer, which as presented required an answer by Nov. 1. The November meeting will take place on Nov. 8. McCord asked that the city also clear up the question about the stairway before that meeting.
Easement approved for drainage issue
Later, the council approved a motion to enter into executive session for the purpose of discussion a real estate transaction. Upon returning to regular session, the council voted to approve agreements on a temporary and a permanent easement between the City of Ellinwood and Mary Jo and Ronald Cunningham for the purpose of maximizing efficient drainage and construction of a drainage channel over real estate owned by the Cunninghams.
The temporary easement outlines how the city may use the property during the two years during which construction will take place. The Cunninghams will be paid $500 for each year of construction and until tree debris is removed from the site. For the permanent easement, they will receive $12,050, based on an appraised value of $2,500 per acre for the 4.82 acres surveyed for the project. They will be paid within 30 days of execution of the agreement, which occurred Tuesday night.
“I want the council and public to know that Ron and Mary Jo Cunningham were easy to work with,” Peter said. “We believe this agreement will hopefully always be fair to them and their successors, and fair to the city.”
“That’s a big step forward for the city, and its much appreciated,” Lebbin said.
Fly-in and car show report
A visitor inquired if the city had received results back from the city exchange with Cimarron. Rob Dove, one of the representatives on that committee, was present and agreed to give an update. The committee for Ellinwood will make a public presentation of results of the exchange on Oct. 20 at Ellinwood High School, in conjunction with the city.
Rob Dove, Ellinwood, thanked the city for the use of the restroom facilities at the Ellinwood Municipal Airport on Sunday, Sept. 11. He is one of the organizers of the experimental aircraft fly-in and vintage automobile show held there that afternoon. He reported the turnout was better than expected, and an experimental aircraft owner from the Wichita area attended, and made an impromptu presentation about progress on Doc, the B-25 restoration project, happening there.
Dove also responded to an inquiry from another Ellinwood resident, who asked when the public would learn the results of a city-to-city exchange with Cimarron. Dove said a presentation would be made on Oct. 20 at the Ellinwood High School by the committee taking part, the City of Ellinwood, and the Barton County Extension Service.
City manager report
Interim City Manager Chris Komarek updated the council on progress with construction of the Ellinwood Splash Pad, noting that concrete at the baby pool had been torn out, fence posts set, and the city was working on posts for the new awning at the baby pool. When that is done, new concrete will be poured and the splash pad will be installed.
The KDOT road construction project along Santa Fe Ave. is off to a slow start, partly because of the recent rain.
The city has purchased 200 LED Christmas lights in both cool and warm white, which will be turned on over the weekend so people can see what they will look like. It is the beginning of a needed upgrade in order for the city to continue to provide the Christmas lighting display.
The EMT classes have started, and there are six participants from Ellinwood. The new ambulance will be delivered on Oct. 13.
The city will begin trimming trees early in an attempt to catch up after virtually none was done last year, he said, especially along alleyways.
Komarek also spoke about his attendance at the Kansas Power Pool conference in Wichita in August.