Development matters highlight City Commission meeting

Infrastructure matters highlighted Wednesday's study meeting for Emporia city commissioners.

The main focal point was the so-called Far West sewer project, which has been in the planning stages the past several years -- and the topic of discussion was how to fund any further upgrades to help foster additional development west of Americus Road.

Emporia has $2 million budgeted for the work but will still be about $263,000 short of what's needed to finish construction. The plan is to bond out the remainder over the next six to 10 years, but a final decision may not come until the action meeting next week.

The city decided Industrial Park No 4 needed to be utility-ready three years ago and started planning for a 12-inch sewer main to serve customers along U.S. Highway 50. PrairieLand Partners John Deere is willing to connect to the main and annex into the city if Emporia bores under the highway with an 8-inch sewvice line and installs a hydrant nearby. The city is considering possibly offering incentives to Emporia Truck Wash, which would add high-flow pumps to the project and easement costs but would also give additional justification for the work according to City Manager Matt Zimmerman.

The project has to be completed next spring as part of the city's incentive compliance agreement with Fanestil Meats, which plans to begin moving out of the Cottonwood River floodplain next year.

Park master plan discussed

City commissioners covered a lot of ground Wednesday, taking a closer look at an assessment of the city's parks. Consultant Dick Horton says the city park system has a great opportunity to move forward with a targeted approach at most parks. Among the suggestions:

  • Add amenities at Soden's Grove near the train depot and rerouting the Sertoma Club miniature train track.
  • Change the placement of monuments at Peter Pan Park, add a "sprayground" and formalize access to the park's amphitheater.
  • Clean the pond and added a lighted walkway at C of E Park.
  • Highlight the parks with special events through the year.

Horton also suggested disposing of unused parks such as Lakeview, Quaker, Urbanside and Walnut. A public meeting may be scheduled to get resident input later ths year.-

Assistant City Manager Mark McAnarney says the city has discussed a sprayground at Peter Pan and tennis court improvements at Hammond Park.

Commissioners briefly discussed water rights through Council Grove Reservoir, wrapping up their business by attending a service award luncheon for city employees at the White Auditorium Little Theater.

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