Emotions ran high during the Manhattan City Commission meeting Tuesday evening.
Several local residents presented their case for why the City should vote against previous plans to repurpose the City Auditorium, also known as the Peace Memorial Auditorium.
The plan was to gut the auditorium in order to add several Parks and Rec offices and expand the gymnasium floor. However, since the building was created as a holistic war memorial in 1955, several local residents (including a veteran of WWII) passionately expressed their desire to see the auditorium preserved.
The Commission ultimately voted against plans to repurpose the building (2-3); and instead voted to consider alternative plans, including refurbishing the Auditorium and stage, as well as adding the Parks and Rec Offices on to City Hall (3-2).
Also Tuesday, the commission unanimously approved a request from Dreiling Realty, to amend a portion of the McCall Landing Commercial Plan Unit Development Project.
The amendment calls for the construction of a 16,800 square-foot commercial building, part of which is for an expansion of the K-State Super Store. The lot will also include a 43,000 square-foot area that will remain undeveloped for future projects.
Lastly, Commissioners reached an agreement with artist Tom ford, to build a sculpture for the middle of the 4th street and Bluemont roundabout.
The sculpture, titled “Peace Offering on the Blue”, will cost approximately $64,000.
In order to finance the project, the City will use 29,000 dollars from the 4th street Transport Development District (TDD). McDonald’s also dedicated 23,000 for the sculpture from the TDD for their new retail location. The remaining balance will likely come from Special Park and Rec funds.
The agreement includes a proposal by Tom Ford to make 50 maquettes of the statue, which he will then sell to help raise money for the project. Money generated by the maquettes could be used to fund the sculpture, or it could be used for other projects programs and activities recommended by the Manhattan Arts and Humanities Advisory Board.
The motion was approved by a vote of 4-1.