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Hoisington council talks new grant project
Friendship house drive-thru discussed
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The Hoisington City Council discussed the pros and cons of adding a drive-thru window to the Friendship House Monday evening. The location serves meals to Hoisington seniors in house and via home delivery. - photo by Veronica Coons

HOISINGTON — Hoisington’s Friendship House, located on the northeast corner of Pride Park, 3rd and Oak St., is a meeting place where seniors in the community can get a meal during the week, and out of which the Hoisington Meals on Wheels program operates. 

On any given day, they serve from 10 to 15 senior in-house, as well as eight to 10 carry-out customers, and deliver 14 meals to house-bound seniors around Hoisington. This according to Kathy McGinnis, who is one of two employees that work at the Friendship House.  

Stemming from a comment made by a council member at the Sept. 9 meeting, a discussion concerning the installation of a drive-thru window there had council members lukewarm about the pros and cons of such a project. 

City Manager Jonathan Mitchell identified the west side of the building as the most viable location for a window. 

Benches on the east side of the playground would need to be relocated, and then there would be enough room to get a vehicle through. 

“I just thought I’d bring it up to you guys,” Mitchell said. “Whenever someone brings an idea, let’s discuss it, and so if you guys are interested, we can take it to the Commission on Aging.” 

 He stated the commission likely had enough funds to cover the project.

Jim Morris, Ward 3 questioned why the window was needed. Carol Nather, Ward 2, responded the window would increase accessibility for those unable to come in and pick up their meal, and might even increase the number of seniors participating in the service. Gary Shook, Ward 4, and representing the ward in which the Friendship House is located, wondered aloud why the employees there can’t simply bring the meals to seniors in the parking area. 

This is already a standing practice, McGinnis answered, especially on bad weather days. But, running the meals out also puts herself and the other employee there, Cathy Copp, at risk of slipping and falling on the ice in winter, she said. 

Morris asked if there were any estimates on what it would cost, but without sufficient interest expressed yet, Mitchell said he had not inquired. Morris then agreed it wouldn’t hurt to at least bring it to the commission.

“But the better priority would be to increase the meals on wheels,” he added. “Then they wouldn’t have to get out of the house.” 

Currently, there is one route serving Hoisington, McGinnis said. To serve more, an additional route would need to be established. 

It was unclear if the cost per meal for Meals on Wheels was different from the in-house cost for meals of $3.50 per meal. McGinnis said all meals come pre-packaged, and she is not responsible for collecting fees, so she was not aware of the actual cost. 

Here’s a quick look at what happened at the Hoisington City Council meeting Monday night:

• Approved the consent agenda which included minutes from the Sept. 9 meeting. 

• Heard public comments, including one by Kathy McGinnis, Hoisington, who stated the city should not hire a member of the governing body to mow the lawns of residents in violation of the city ordinance concerning height of grass. 

• Discussed adding a drive-up window at the Friendship House. The Commission on Aging will be consulted to determine if it is a priority. 

• Approved the application for a street project grant from KDOT. The proposed project will affect a three-block area on 2nd from Green Street to Main and from Main to Elm Street. The scope will include removal of brick, replace with concrete, and replacement of curb and gutter and ramps at each intersection. The rough estimated cost of the project will be $875,000, and the city’s match will be $317,177, Mitchell said. 

• Received the city manager report which praised staff efforts in clean-up of the pre-Labor Day storm, announced the addition of a new full-time police officer, Officer Michael Bradley, who will begin work Oct. 1, and updates on a number of city projects including Bicentennial Park additions and upgrades, PLC installation, and updates to the city website. It was also noted that Mitchell and Hoisington EMS Director will travel to Topeka for a hearing with the Kansas Board of EMS on Oct. 3 concerning coverage issues.