Council wrestles with restroom location

Staff writer

“As far as location,” Planning Commission member Margo Yates said, “may the force be with you.”

Marion City Council approved a conditional use permit for new restrooms in Central Park but took no action on where they will or what they will look like.

“That’s kind of vague,” member Jerry Kline said during a discussion of the permit.

Mayor Mary Olson suggested a central location where the restrooms and a gazebo currently stand. Her motion died without a second.

“I would like to see a plan for each site,” member Chris Meierhoff said. “We need to take time to make this decision.”

The council decided to ask the Park Board to present options for an eastern location near the swing set and gravel drive; west location south of the flagpole; and central location.

Meierhoff said how the building looks would determine the viability of any plan.

Many members of the public argued at a planning commission meeting June 4 that the 26x20 foot building proposed would be too large for the center of the park.

“I’m confused about the Park Board’s role now,” member Todd Heitschmidt said.

Heitschmidt has been the liaison between the board and the council. He said the park board had decided the eastern location was best. However, the council has the sole authority to decide on the location.

Some council members have wanted to pick a location before repaving Main Street begins this month.

Downtown revitalization

Marion PRIDE is not giving up despite rejection of a grant for downtown revitalization from the Kansas Department of Transportation. The city was one of 91 applicants, only 37 were approved.

The grant covered 75 percent of the city’s proposed plan, about $776,217 of $1,034956. The city would be responsible for providing the remaining $316,504. It called for new streetlights, brick inlaid side and cross walks, and a welcome sign.

PRIDE plans to reapply for the grant every year. Engineer David Neufeld will talk with the grant selectors about how to make Marion’s application more appealing.

Outside of the realm of the grant, PRIDE plans to put in planters on Main Street next year. The group is still deciding on a style of planter. Power washing buildings downtown also has been discussed.

“That could be a low cost thing,” Bowers said.

Concealed carry

The city council voted to remove signs prohibiting concealed firearms in municipal buildings.

The city is required to take down signs because of Kansas House Bill 2052 approved April 16 by the Kansas legislature authorizing the carry of concealed weapons in state and municipal buildings. The city could post an armed guard with a wand at all entrances or install door-length metal detectors at each location.

Representative John Barker and state senator Jay Emler both voted for the bill.

The city could have asked the attorney general’s office for an exemption.

“I’m not sure the piece of paper deters people anyway,” City Attorney Susan Robson said.

In other business:

  • The council approved the sale of lot 7, block 1 in the industrial park for $4,500 to Prairie Land Partners. The lot is located directly north of Cardie’s Oil, Tire, and Service Center. Kjellin said the city paid $827 in taxes on the property last year.
  • The council gave Kjellin permission to set terms with the owners of the Elgin Hotel for a simple, metal carport on a municipal parking lot north of the hotel. The Elgin owners already use the parking space.
  • Kjellin presented a bid from Carved in Stone, a stone worker from Cottonwood Falls, of $2,800 to repair holes and cracks in the building wall along the east side of Liberty Park. The council instructed Kjellin to solicit more bids and attempt to find a local artisan.
  • The council decided not to spend $500 to bring a financial expert for a financial statement work session. City Clerk Angela Lange previously requested the work session to study cash reserve balances. “They’re not where we want them to be in case of an emergency,” she said.

 

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