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Splash Pad goal reached, Ellinwood City Council considers next steps
Ellinwood fireworks planned
new vlc Ellinwood Nancy Daniels web
Nancy Daniels, K-State Research and Extension, informed the Ellinwood City Council about the new First Impressions program at Tuesday nights meeting. - photo by Veronica Coons, Tribune staff

Ellinwood’s City Council met Tuesday night in anticipation of some good news from the Ellinwood Rotary Club. They weren’t disappointed. Since the last council meeting when club member Rosie Joiner addressed the council, requesting the city consider providing some financial assistance in lieu of in-kind assistance preparing a grant offered by the former city manager, the club was now ready to move forward with the project. This was done thanks to generous donors who came forward, and the club’s decision to postpone the installment of three of the water features in the initial phase of the build. To date, $84,647.50 has been raised, enough to begin the project. Joiner asked that the council authorize the mayor to sign the contract with with the company so an autumn construction date could be scheduled.
After some discussion about logistics concerning other maintenance projects at the pool and where the water from the Splash Pad would drain, the council approved moving forward with the project, save for one, Ken Lebbin, who advised the council should have a look at the construction plans prior to signing, and was concerned over the drainage issue and the amount of water that would potentially be used during the highest use periods.

Fireworks approved
The topic of Fourth of July fireworks was introduced by Interim City Manager Chris Komarek. He asked the council to determine if the city would once again hold a public display, set a date for that display, and set a budget for purchase of fireworks. Based off previous years’ expenditures, the council approved spending $5,000 plus the cost of insurance for the city’s display on Sunday, July 3. Donations from the business community and individuals may also be sought.
Komarek also weighed in from his position as fire chief that he was in support of personal fireworks only being allowed on July 4. The council agreed.

KDOT project moving forward
During his staff report, Komarek said the city-owned Main Street building for sale received some inquiries. However, a price for the property has not been decided upon. City attorney Bob Peter informed the council they could either take bids, or they could set a price. He recommended the council should require knowledge of what the purchaser plans to do with the property. It was determined the city will put for sale signs on vacant lots, and will come up with two types of packets, one for the buildings and one for the vacant lots. They will include a time frame and require disclosure of the type of project, type of structure, and beginning and end of when construction will be started and completed. Other abandoned properties are also of interest.

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:

* Service awards were presented to Nathan Wood, fire department, and Spencer Proffitt, water department.

* Nancy Daniels with K-State Research and Extension introduced the organization’s First Impressions program. The city of Cimarron is taking part in the program, and identified Ellinwood as a city they would like to partner with. The reason, Daniels said, is to receive an objective look at their city from another far enough away for members of the team to not be overly familiar. The council approved participation, and will identify of team of three to go through the training, visitation and community listening forum. Donna Krug of Barton County Extension pledged their support in organizing the forum.

* Information concerning the proposed replacement of the 1995 ambulance was discussed. The ambulance currently has 150,000 miles, plus idling time and maintenance and reliability is now a concern. The council authorized the purchase of a new Horton ambulance for the price of $169,030, with a $6,000 trade in, gift of $23,000, funding from the city of $100,000, and a lease financing of $40,000. Delivery date will be Sept. 1.

* The council reauthorized services from the engineering firm Kirkham Michael, following the city’s changes due to running the water/wastewater project through KDOT. Project bid from Smokey Hills of Salina accepted. Kirkham Michael has submitted an increase in fees that will cover their presence on site and and their approval of inspections. Construction must begin before After Harvest Festival, but utility work must be completed before highway work can begin. KDOT will likely start highway construction from the east and work to the west, so it will likely not be a factor for the annual celebration.

The council then approved a motion to enter into an executive session for the discussion of acquisition of property for 20 minutes. Upon resuming regular session, no action was taken, and the meeting was adjourned.

The next Ellinwood City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, July 12 at 7 p.m. at the Ellinwood City Offices.