More information needed for safety building grant

Gale Rose

Pratt County commissioners will have to develop additional documentation before they apply for an Economic Development Administration Grant for a new Public Safety Center.

Heather Morgan, Pratt County Economic Development, said Commissioners will have to proved more information on historic preservation and environmental assessments that have to do with engineering before they make application for a $5.2 million grant for construction of the Safety Center just east of Pratt on U.S. 54 and NE 20th Avenue.

“We didn’t have those documents,” Morgan said.

The documents have to be submitted to the State Historic Preservation Officer before the grant application can be made. This would prove that the county was in compliance with all historic preservation and environmental issues before the application is made.

Pratt County would be responsible for 25 percent of the grant so their share would be $1.3 million. The county would use revenue from two wind farms to pay for the new facility.

It takes about three months to get environment assessment information. The grant has a rolling application period so there is no specific time to apply. Entities can apply for the grant until the money runs out, Morgan said.

The grant package is about 98 percent done. Scott Harris, EMS director, did the narrative and presented a good, compelling case for the grant and that space would be an issue if the pandemic becomes a problem in Pratt County.

The commissioners have to determine whether or not they want to move forward and eventually apply for the grant. They have to figure out exactly what they want and how much it will cost before they make application for the grant. If they receive the grant, they have to construct exactly what they submitted. They can’t deviate from the submitted plan, Morgan said.

It’s good to have a grant but the application process is a complicated matter and the process is just getting started.

“The whole thing is in the very preliminary stages,” Morgan said.

Part of the process will include a public meeting to present information and answer questions on the project. A tentative meeting date had to be postponed and the new date has been set for June 22. The public is encouraged to attend this 7 p.m. meeting at the Pratt Municipal Building. Social distancing is advised as much as possible.

The Safety Center would have facilities for Pratt County Fire and Rescue, Pratt County EMS, Pratt County Emergency Manager and a conference room.

Funding for the grant is made possible through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act. There are potentially other grants available.

In other commission business:

• A local road safety plan meeting will be held in Pratt on Friday, June 12 at the Community Center with state representatives present. A survey of the county blacktop roads will be reviewed with suggestions on what can be done to make it better.

• The warning siren at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has been repaired and the test went well. The speakers need some adjustment to send the sound in the desired direction.

• A leak was discovered in the roof of the office of Tim Branscom, county emergency manager. Commissioners approved an A&R Roofing bid of $3,948 to fix the roof at 409 South Main.

• Following a cardiac arrest event at the Pratt County Landfill, Jason Winkel, landfill manager, has requested landfill and recycle center staff take CPR classes.

• Over 120 pounds of Household Hazardous Waste has come to the center since the last shipment went out. More people staying at home have taken time to clean things up, Winkel said.

• A city wide cleanup week has been scheduled for July 6-11. The city will not be able to help with unloading so a plan will be developed to deal with unloading.

The commissioners are continuing discussions about when the courthouse will be fully open to the public, as it was prior-COVID-19 shutdown.