A project that will change the look of Main Street sidewalks was advanced at the Monday meeting of the Pratt City Commission, with the approval of a contract with the Kansas Department of Transportation by which KDOT will provide 80 percent of total construction costs, estimated at more than $1 million.
Bid-letting, handled by the state, will take place in 2014 and construction is expected to begin in 2015.
City officials have recently learned that, in addition to coordinating construction with business owners to minimize their financial impact, they will have to schedule around another project to provide left turning lanes from U.S. 54 (First Street) to U.S. 281 (Main Street). City Manager Dave Howard reported that bidding for that project was moved from July 2014 to October, with construction in 2015, possibly at the same time as the streetscape project.
"The worst case scenario is it will make the two projects last longer because they're waiting on each other and emotions will suffer as a result," said Commissioner Gary Skaggs, owner of Skaggs Ace Hardware at the First and Main intersection.
"We need to keep on top of it," he continued.
"And we intend to," Howard replied, acknowledging there will be "issues" while working on a main intersection. Preliminary plans for the turn lane project have not yet been provided.
In the only other agenda item, commissioners approved 2014 cereal malt beverage applications for nine businesses. Two current license-holders have not returned applications, but still have time before the deadline.
Howard reported that the American Legion had filed with the Kansas Department of Revenue Alcohol Beverage Control for a temporary permit on New Year's Eve. The organization has a license that is specific to the bar area in the basement; "they want to make sure they're following the rules," he said.
Before the state can issue the temporary license, the city must pass an ordinance or resolution for the temporary permit, Howard said, and there is a matter of a 20-day waiting period, which commissioners agreed could be waived.
"If something needs to come before us, we'll have time on the 16th (the next meeting date)" Mayor Jeff Taylor said.
Commissioners had no objection to the temporary permit.
Public Works Director Russ Rambat reported on completion of the drainage box on West First Street prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, work on the roundtop building removed from Lemon Park and "getting everything ready for the next shot of winter coming this week."
Building inspector Brad Blankenship said he had been assured by the owner of a property in 400 block of South Main that is scheduled for a hearing as a dangerous structure is working to clean up the building, leaving the face on Main Street.
Skaggs objected to a boarded-up front, and said, "let's require him to clean it up so it looks halfway decent." Blankenship assured him that was the goal.
City staff members agreed to check on a complaint by Commissioner Karen Detwiler about the volume of music from Lemon Park.