City Approves 2014 City-University Agreement

The Manhattan City Commission  approved all three general agenda items during a routine meeting Tuesday evening at City Hall.

City-University Fund

Commissioners started Tuesday’s meeting by reviewing the 2014 City/University Fund Agreement.  The fund was created to use sales taxes and franchise fees gathered on campus, for projects that would benefit both the City and the University.

In this year’s agreement, K-State requested a reallocation of funds for several projects on-campus  including $80,000 dollars from the Kimball Avenue Sidewalk Project to the Dickens Avenue Sidewalk Project; and moving $174,000 for restroom renovations in McCain Auditorium and adding it to the already-approved $50,000 for lighting improvements. The 2014 agreement will also provide $50,000 for lighting improvements in Forum Hall inside the K-State Student Union.

Commissioner Wynn Butler raised concerns with the way the City-University fund is being used, stating that the reallocation would only benefit the university.

“I didn’t like the paving of the stadium, which was about half-a-million dollars, and I don’t like this McCain thing or the Forum thing, because I don’t see how that fits the bill here of mutual benefit to the City and University,” said Butler.

Commissioner Usha Reddi disagreed, saying that the improvements benefit the people who spend their money on-campus.

“When we’re creating this City-University Fund with all the sales taxes that are going towards it, some of that sales tax is coming from the people that are using McCain, or going to Forum Hall. I think when you have a facility where we’re putting in our money, we’re also getting some return from that,” said Reddi.

The motion carried 4-1.

———-

Prairie Lakes Rezoning

Commissioners also reviewed the first reading of an ordinance to re-zone lots 151A-161B and Tract D in the Prairie Lakes housing development.

“The applicants are wanting to re-zone it from (R-3) multi-family to R-2, two family residential district. The reason really is so that it’s more similar to the surrounding neighborhoods to the east and south and west,” said Eric Cattell, assistant director for planning.

The motion was unanimously approved.

———-

The last item the Commission looked at Tuesday was an amendment to a development agreement for intersection improvements at Manhattan Avenue and Research Park Drive.

Jason Hilgers, deputy city manager, said the changes will accommodate for expected growth in the area.

“It gives us additional lanes for traffic to flow in and out of the Research Park Drive area,” said Hilgers “We’ve estimated the project at just over a half million and we are proposing to pay for that out of the Economic Development Sales Tax Fund.”

The intersection improvements will also facilitate the opening of the new Kansas Department of Agriculture building this summer.

Commissioners approved the request and construction will begin immediately.