Manhattan and K-State Closer to Major Planning Agreement

K-State President, Kirk Schulz spoke to the Manhattan City Commission Tuesday about how the City and University can work together to improve the infrastructure in the Kimball Corridor.

“In this part of Manhattan, we’ve got a lot of exciting things happening. We wanna make sure we’ve got the infrastructure and planning so it’s something we’re proud of,” Schulz said. “If we can get to the end of this time and NBAF’s built, the North End Zone Project’s built and we’ve done this infrastructure, it’s something everybody says ‘what a great example of a university/community partnership.”

As part of his presentation, Dr. Schulz asked the Commission to team with K-State and commit $75 thousand for corridor planning.

“What we would like to do is put a task-force together, select a consultant with representatives from the corridor constituents which include the University, the Foundation, Athletics and the community,” Schulz said “And we want to ask the City Staff and the City to partner with us on this.”

Commissioner, Rich Jankovich approves of President Schulz’ forward thinking.

“This is gonna be a monster as it unfolds over the next probably seven years, and we’ve gotta be in front of it all the time instead of trying to catch up and I think that’s a great approach,”  Jankovich said.

Commissioner, Usha Reddi says teaming up with the University to create a master plan is a no-brainer.

“I think this is essential for NBAF, and as far as the future growth of Manhattan, it just seems like almost a common sense issue.”
K-State would commit $150 thousand for a total estimated planning cost of $225 thousand. No action was taken as Tuesday’s meeting was a work session.

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The Commission also discussed ways to deal with the City’s aging infrastructure during Tuesday’s work session.

As Manhattan grows, so does the financial strain on the Special Street and Highway Fund for improvement projects. That means there’s less money in the General Fund for street maintenance, thus limiting the City’s ability to keep up.

The City currently commits just over one million dollars per year for street maintenance, but Public Works estimates that four million is needed to maintain a standard for the overall condition of the roads.

But, the age-old question, where does that money come from? Commissioner, John Matta thinks that asking the public to vote on a 0.1% sales tax could do the trick.

“I’d be willing to look at the idea of putting something up to the voters for this. It is something we hear about quite often and it’d be time for them to say if they’re willing to kick in some for the effort,” Matta Said.

Mayor Wynn Butler, suggests that the City look at ways to be more efficient with how it divvy’s up maintenance projects.

“We’ve got city crews doing some work and we’ve got contractors doing some work, and it would be interesting to review that and see does it make sense. Like if we are striping, and the striping doesn’t last, maybe we shouldn’t stripe at all and we should consider contracting all of it. Because if we’re using a paint that’s not gonna last, that just doesn’t seem to make sense,” Butler said.

The City may also consider dedicating one mill levy , or sending a ten-dollar wheel tax to public vote as strategies to increase funding for road maintenance.