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Larned City Council addresses drainage issues
Temporary fix may help Park St. flooding
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A possible solution for a drainage issue on Park Street was proposed at the Larned City Council meeting Monday night. Residents at there have experienced flooding after rain events for some time now. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
• Approved the consent agenda which included a conditional use permit requested by Innovative Livestock Services. A public hearing by the Pawnee County Joint Planning and Zoning Commission for the permit that would allow ILS to store wind generation parts, tubes and blades, on their land south of US-56 located just outside Larned’s 3-mile jurisdiction, was scheduled to occur at 7 p.m. that night at the Pawnee County Courthouse. 
• Accepted a dividend check for $29,907.52 presented by Cassidy Smith of EMC/Alliance. $80,680 has been paid out to the city in dividend checks over the past three years. 
• Approved the annual GAAP Waiver resolution for 2016 and 2017.
• Approved the appointment of City Manager Bradley Eilts to the vacant KMEA Board of Directors seat vacated by the former city manager. 
• Approved two contracts with Utility HelpNet, one for $90,000 for the design of Plant 1 Sub-station, the second for $24,000 for engineering services on the Arc Hazard Assessment study.
• Approved the 2018 budget calendar for work sessions.
• Discussed the city’s utility billing process and late fees. 
• Discussed a proposal to build a new lift station at 17th and Santa Fe with Ryan Glessner with Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC), Wichita.
• Heard a presentation by Frieda Smith, the city’s planning and zoning coordinator, concerning code enforcement efforts in the city. 
• Approved award of the KLINK bid to Vogts-Parga, Newton, for $287,366.85, and authorized City matching funds in the amount of $42,246.85. 
• Approved an agreement with Benesch Consulting Services for oversight and consulting of the KLINK project.
• Approved the Golden Belt Telephone franchise agreement--In May, Beau Rebel and Randy Washburn from Golden Belt Telephone proposed the construction of a fiber-optic network in Larned. Rather than a franchise fee, the city will be paid a percentage of gross receipts over the 20-year life of the contract. 
• Approved a request by the Santa Fe Trail Auto Club to use Doerr Vernon Park on Sunday, Oct. 1, for a car show.

LARNED – Storm water drainage issues were the main topic of discussion at the Larned City Council meeting Monday night. Council member Kim Barnes asked two citizens experiencing problems with flooding to attend the meeting.
Helen Collins and Devin Hefley reside on Park Street, and have experienced ongoing flooding of their street and properties. Located at the bottom of the rolling hill on which Larned sits, sometimes when it rains, Collins said she doesn’t know if it’s better to leave or to stay put until the inevitable flooding subsides. She lives at 316 Park Street, across the street from the school playground equipment. When she first moved there, it was an open ditch, and she was excited when the drain pipe went through. But, it’s never really been efficient in her opinion.
She shared with the council how water and debris from higher ground is swept into her yard during and after even mild rains.
To add insult to injury, young people bring four wheelers to her street to drive through the water, splashing it against hers and her neighbors’ houses.
“I actually saw a kayak going down Park Street a few weeks ago,” she said. “I would be tickled to death if something can be done. I’ve lived with it a long time.”

Temporary patch
Street Department Superintendent Allen Taylor was at the meeting, and shared with the council what has been done so far to fix the Park Street problem. He noted that the flooding on Park Street is the worst that it’s been since he started working there. He investigated and found a 35-foot stretch of old handmade pipe, dating back to the days that Larned’s downtown was originally built, was the culprit. When full, a combination of pressure within the pipe, coupled with free flowing water from uphill cause excessive amounts of water to flood the area in question.
Taylor and his crew have been working on repairs he hopes will alleviate the problem, and presented a plan he drafted to further address concerns.
Ultimately, all 620 feet of handmade pipe will need to be replaced. He estimates it will cost the city upwards of $62,000. In the meantime, he and his crew have made a temporary fix using $700 of concrete patch along the 35-foot crack in the pipe, buying the city time to make a more permanent repairs. Taylor believed the patch could last from 10 to 20 years.

Immediate needs
The first 315 feet of the pipe is actually a city extension of 5th Street, he said. But the next 305 piece the city has not been able to access for quite a few years. That’s because when ownership of the land was transferred to Innovative Livestock Services, the company fenced it in for their cattle operation. Since then, the ditch has filled in with sediment and debris.
Taylor has been in touch with ILS. The company is willing to give the city access to the ditch, as long as the city will move the fencing the recommended 50 feet, provide a gate with a padlock, and maintain the ditch. This, Taylor said, would allow the city to increase the volume of the ditch which would solve the problem of water backing up and flooding Park Street.
He also noted other ditches in the city with excessive silt build up causing drainage issues. They included near Countryside Drive and in front of Carr Auction. These smaller critical areas are something his crew can handle cleaning out, he said, despite being understaffed. However, when they get to the bigger ditches around the city, they will need some help.
The council agreed they would move forward with arrangements with ILS, with expenditures for moving the 50-foot by 315-foot section of fence and provide a padlocked gate with expenses not to exceed $1,000.
An executive session for the discussion of items concerning attorney/client privilege was requested for 15 minutes and included council members, the mayor, the city manager, and the city attorney. Upon resuming the regular session, no action was taken. The meeting was then adjourned.
The next meeting of the Larned City Council will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 3 at the Larned City Office.