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Just in time for Labor Day — Hoisington pole art update
Council considers alternative facade for Main Street building
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At the June 11 Hoisington City Council meeting, council members toured the city’s electrical plant and got a sneak peek at what the new pole art installations will look like along Hoisington’s Main Street. The first block will be completed in time for this weekend’s Labor Day Weekend celebration. - photo by Veronica Coons

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

• Considered new delegates to the League of Kansas Municipalities conference in Topeka, Oct. 6-8. Robert Bruce will be unable to attend the upcoming conference due to employment related conflicts. Interest was high among other council members, but discussion was tabled until the next meeting so calendars could be consulted.  

• Accepted Ordinance 1533 pertaining to providing evidence of pet vaccination which falls in line with the new county regulations. The action removed the requirement that vaccination be done annually, and now states vaccination must simply be current. Annual registration will still be required, and proof must be shown at that time. 

• Approved a contract with Comfort Pro of Great Bend for $ 14,804.00 to complete the sewer extension to the McKenna Meadows development. A&F Enterprises of Hoisington qualified for the city’s 10 percent local vendor preference, but with their bid of $16,571.27 left Comfort Pro the apparent low bidder.

• Discussed The Office agreement with Steve Hopkins. A proposal for an other-than-glass front facade was denied.  

• Appointed Amber Crawford to the Hoisington Rec Commission to fill the seat vacated last month by Kim Kindscher who recently stepped down for employment reasons. 

• Approved listing surplus equipment for sale through Purple Wave Auction. Larger items will include a seized vehicle and the old shoring equipment. There are a number of other items that could also be sold.

• Heard an update on the pole art installation on the 100 block of North Main, and preparations for further installations. 

• City Manager Jonathan Mitchell provided his regular report that included information on various ongoing projects including: budget, the fire district, McKenna Meadows, healthcare, upcoming pool events including box races and pooch plunge, cleaning the secondary water holding tank, and the water softening system. He also provided an update on preparations for the Labor Day Weekend Touch-a-Truck activities. 

• Mitchell also shared that rather than purchase a new street sweeper as suggested at the Aug. 13 meeting, the city will purchase new brooms, new boots and a new pump for the existing sweeper. This was decided after consultation with people in the know who agreed that purchasing a new sweeper would not provide significant advantages, and would cost upwards of $200,000. 

HOISINGTON — The upcoming Labor Day Weekend events were clearly on the minds of Hoisington City Council members and city staff when they met Monday night in regular session.

With an event of this magnitude, the spotlight will be on Hoisington this coming weekend, and the council heard updates on a couple highly visible projects: the reinstallation of metal pole art, and the renovation of the building that once housed The Office Tavern. 

Pole art displays going up

City workers have built and installed the first six of about 30 new display installations that will soon hold the remaining 60 pieces of iconic metal pole art created in the mid-2000s by Hoisington metal artist Bruce Bitter. 

These displays are located on all four corners and in the middle of each side of the 100 block of North Main Street. As of Monday night the art, which depicts scenes from Cheyenne Bottoms, Hoisington industry and history, had not yet been set in place. The first eight had been prepped and painted and were ready to go, and workers were rushing to get the remaining four completed in time, as they continued to complete other weekend preparations. City Manager Jonathan Mitchell was confident that the art would be in place later in the week. 

Each piece will be bolted in place, and can be removed as needed for maintenance. The locations of all 60 pieces have been mapped out along the street. It is possible these first 12 pieces may end up in different locations at a later date as more installations are completed, Mitchell said. 

The art has been displayed on the light poles along Main Street for the last decade. It was determined earlier this year that the original installation left the art vulnerable to damage by passing vehicles, so the new displays were devised. 

A few art sponsors have requested their pieces returned to them, and the city has obliged. 

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Public Works staff in Hoisington have been busy this week setting the first of the new pole art installations on the 100 block of Main Street in time for the upcoming Labor Day Weekend festivities. The earlier installation of the iconic metal art depicting scenes from Hoisington’s history and the surrounding environment left some of the signs vulnerable to damage. - photo by Veronica Coons

Renovation behind schedule

In December, 2017, after the Subway restaurant opted out of its lease with the city, Steve Hopkins with Epicenter Ministries contacted Mitchell with a proposal to purchase the neighboring city-owned building which once housed The Office Tavern. That building had fallen into disrepair and was an eyesore the city was having difficulty marketing. He wanted to move his fledgling church into the Subway space temporarily while the church completed the needed repairs and remodel. 

The city council was receptive, and soon an agreement was in place. 

With Labor Day Weekend approaching, Mitchell met with Hopkins to find out why new glass had not been installed in the front facade of the building. When the agreement was made, the city had requested that phase of work be completed ahead of the 2018 Labor Day Weekend celebration. Council members commented they had not seen progress in several weeks. 

Hopkins had proposed a new idea, and Mitchell pitched it to the council. With concerns about possible glass breakage in mind, the church was considering putting new hardy board siding over the openings, painting it gray, and having metal art created to go over it, with back-lighting behind. Provided, of course, the council was in agreement. 

After a brief discussion, the council still preferred glass. While the proposal sounded attractive, they felt the buildings would be easier to market with glass should the church ever vacate. While the work will not be completed before the weekend, Hopkins anticipates work will be caught up and completed by the end of the year, Mitchell said. This includes the rear facade and interior walls upstairs.