The Pratt City Commission made quick work of three agenda items related to streets and roads in a 40-minute session Monday evening.
Commissioners Doug Meyer, Bill Hlavachick and Lucus Kumberg, who presided in the absence of both Mayor Jeff Taylor and Vice Mayor Gary Skaggs, approved a $62,000 contract with EBH Engineering for improvement of North Main Street from Blaine to just south of the railroad tracks. The project will look similar to the first block of North Main, with 24 feet of concrete in the center of the road, retaining the bricks on both sides.
The city has received a geometric improvement grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation to cover the majority of the cost and has budgeted for its portion. State funding will be available in July 2015 and the hope is that construction can begin at that time.
City commissioners again rejected a KDOT design for the First and Main street intersection. KDOT recommends expansion to five lanes on First Street (U.S. 54) to provide protected left turns.
Discussion began, City Manager Dave Howard reviewed, when federal money became available. Each state highway district submitted two or three proposals and the Pratt project was chosen, with a goal of reducing traffic congestion caused by heavy truck traffic. After KDOT traffic studies, the focus shifted to eastbound trucks making right turns onto Main Street (U.S. 281).
To solve that problem, KDOT recommended diverting U.S. 54 eastbound trucks turning right onto U.S. 281 to K-64, east of Pratt, where they would come back to U.S. 281 via Lake Road.
The proposed design, which Howard said was only preliminary, but required action by July 25, would also close two parking spaces in front of Skaggs Ace Hardware, close the Main Street access to Sanders insurance and real estate business and the First United Methodist Church parking lot, and also reduce access to KFC on the northeast corner of the block.
Commissioners were unanimous in rejecting the plan.
Approval was given to a project to align North and South Fincham streets on the east side of town. KDOT will fund that project up to a maximum of $565,000. That project should begin in the near future, according to agenda notes.
The city will provide funding to widen the access to Maurices and Hibbets, as well as a third business relocating to the east of the existing businesses, which will require widening and other improvements. Smiley Concrete LLC was awarded the bid, contingent upon the third business giving up property about 30 by 300 feet. The Pratt company’s bid of $37,356.34 was the lowest of three bids.
In the report section of the meeting, Howard said that a housing developer is considering building on three or four lots in the Sandy Creek addition. Since signs were installed, he has had several calls from people who are interested.
He also reported he will meet with the developer of a proposed apartment complex in the Parrish Hotel on Tuesday.
Building inspector Brad Blankenship said that the contractor in charge of remodeling the old Wal-Mart store for a new Tractor Supply Company store was issued permits on Monday. The store will occupy about two-thirds of the building, with the owner retaining the east portion to possibly rent to another business.
Blankenship described the project as gutting the old store, rerouting wiring and plumbing and also separating utilities between the two spaces. Tractor Supply wants to be in business by Christmas season, he said.