City moves forward on park
The group that has been studying Lansing's parks and recreation facilities for six months is officially going to work for the city.
Citizens for Recreation Facilities has been appointed as a city committee and will solicit bids from land planners interested in surveying the city's residents and helping develop a master plan for what will be Lansing's newest city park.
The appointment was approved unanimously during last week's meeting of the Lansing City Council.
The action came after the previously ad hoc group delivered a PowerPoint presentation to the council about Lansing's existing parks, recreation programs and future needs.
Among the group's findings: Lansing is the largest city in Kansas that does not have a municipal swimming pool or aquatic facility.
A swimming pool is one of the amenities the group would like to see in the next city park - if Lansing residents are supportive of the idea. In 1992, residents defeated a city bond issue that would have paid for a swimming pool.
"That's just one of the things a company can help us determine," said David Falk, who led the presentation to the City Council. "The last 10 years, the population of Lansing has doubled. It's possible their minds may have changed in that time."
The group - Falk, Kevin Gardner, Robert Maggio, Tina Orth, Richard Pitts, David Sommerla and City Council members Andi Pawlowski and Harland Russell - will solicit bids from parks master planners and make a recommendation to the council.
If hired, the planner would conduct a survey of residents about what they would like to see in the new park, be it more athletic fields, picnic areas, natural areas, an aquatic facility or something else, gauge their willingness to support those amenities with tax dollars and develop a conceptual plan for the park, which will sit on 126 acres just west of town on 4-H Road.
Mike Smith, city administrator, said he hoped to sign the final papers on the land purchase this week.
Hiring a planner is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $50,000, but commissioners were supportive of the need to solicit professional help.
"I believe a firm does need to be hired in order to make the case for us to the public to pass a bond issue or whatever," said council member Robert Ulin.
Mayor Kenneth Bernard noted the council had recently authorized spending unbudgeted money to purchase the land and wondered where the $50,000 would be found. Smith said the funding could come from the city's share of the countywide sales tax.
After the meeting, Pawlowski and Russell expressed their happiness with the council's action.
Russell said he hoped the group could get its recommendation for a master planner to the council by February.
Pawlowski said the action brought her one step closer to one of her goals: to get a city pool opened in Lansing.
"We're never going to get it if we don't try," she said. "It's the number one comment I get from constituents: Why don't we have a city pool in Lansing?"
In other business Thursday, the council:
¢ Approved minutes from the council's Dec. 2 meeting
¢ Awarded certificates of appreciation to Crystal Buck and Tiffany Zimmerman, two area high school graduates who have gained statewide recognition for their volunteer efforts. Last month, Kansas PRIDE honored the two, each of whom received a Kansas State PRIDE Youth Award. Buck, a Lansing High School graduate, won an award for leadership; Zimmerman, a Leavenworth High School graduate, was recognized for community service.
¢ Unanimously adopted proposed amendments to the 2004 city budget. The amendments reflect the differences in actual expenditures in several funds that were different from the adopted 2004 city budget. City Clerk Karen Logan noted the amendments would not cause any changes in the property tax levy.
¢ Unanimously approved an agreement with the Topeka accounting firm of Wendling, Noe, Nelson and Johnson to conduct the city's 2004 year-end audit. The cost of the audit would be $16,215.
¢ Unanimously approved renewal of a cereal malt beverage license for WKRP Management doing business as Pizza Hut.
¢ Unanimously approved renewal of a cereal malt beverage license for Hipsher Inc., doing business as Daniel's Bar-B-Q.
¢ Unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the city's participation in the Kansas Department of Transportation's Revolving Loan Fund for the Center Drive project.
¢ Unanimously approved a resolution setting the city's boundaries.
¢ Unanimously approved an agreement with Leavenworth County for improvements to 147th Street.