Pratt City Commissioners had a busy agenda Monday, approving a deed, applying for a grant, and formalizing changes to the wastewater treatment facility upgrade.

By Carol Bronson

One of the last preliminary steps leading to the construction of an art museum in Pratt was taken Monday at the Pratt City Commission, when a municipal warranty deed was given to the Vernon Filley Art Foundation for property between the Pratt Public Library and the corner lot, which the Foundation already owned. The library board will sign a similar deed on Tuesday, according to City Attorney Ken Van Blaricum. The dual documents will prevent any question of authority by the city library, which is funded primarily by endowment.

The property being conveyed is the paved area used for a parking lot south of the library auditorium.

The city made one provision in granting the deed: if the property ceases to be used as an art museum, the real property would revert to the grantor.

"When can we hope to see a museum there," Commissioner Jeff Taylor asked Stan Reimer, chairman of the Foundation board.

A ground-breaking ceremony is set for Feb. 1 and the building is projected to be completed by November.

"All the contracts are signed and we're ready to go," Reimer said. "We have the funds to build the basic building in the bank."

In other business, the Commission:

• Agreed to apply for a grant on behalf of the Pratt Area Humane Society, contingent upon Van Blaricum's review.

"I don't see anything that could cause concern; there are no matching funds," City Manager Dave Howard said, although he wanted Van Blaricum to have time to study the material that he received over the weekend.

The Society is requesting $25,000 from the Elinor Patterson Baker Trust Fund, to seal concrete floors and replace the damaged chain link fence with a modular system. The total cost of the project, to be completed in three stages, is $50,000.

• Approved three motions relating to a wastewater treatment facility upgrade that has grown in scope from an initial $1.6 million outlay of funds to $3.4 million. The Commission voted unanimously to submit a loan amendment to Kansas Department of Health and Environment to increase the loan amount to $3.412,637, with a loan forgiveness of $656,000; to award a contract to the lowest of three bidders, APAC Kansas – Shears Division for $2,768,702; and to approve a contract amendment to EBH, increasing payment to the engineering firm from $318,700 to $432,500.

The project "grew on us," said Alan Luttrell of EBH. Included in the project are replacement of all controls, work on the holding pond behind the facility, on the building itself, and adding covers to control algae growth. He also noted that "we don't know the condition of the digester — we may need some contingency money."

APAC Kansas – Shears Division indicated the work could be completed in about eight months, Luttrell said.

• Appointed Becky Eastes and Grace Parmar to the Convention of Tourism Committee for a term of one year each, and extended the term expiration date for Deb Goyen to December 2014. These actions bring committee membership back to nine, with three seats expiring each year, Jan Scarbrough, Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce director, said. Eastes, an owner of Uptown Cafe, and Parmer, with Holiday Inn Express, will restore representation of the restaurant and hotel industry on the board.

• Appointed Jack Galle to the Pratt Area Economic Development Corp. board.

• Approved the purchase of an electric transformer from Stanion Wholesale Electric, which submitted the lower of two bids. The transformer will be installed at the new car wash being constructed on East First Street.

Construction at the car wash is "well underway" City Inspector Brad Blankenship said. He also noted that site preparation had begun for a new Best Western hotel.