Manhattan Parks and Recreation Looking to Move On Up

The Manhattan Parks and Recreation department may get a new home.

Tuesday night’s Manhattan city commission working session covered the possible consolidation, or renovation of several facilities including the parks and recreation Manhattan offices.

Assistant City Manager Jason Hilgers says the current offices weren’t meant for long term use as they were built in the 1980’s as a supposed temporary measure.

Bruce McMillan architects presented several different options including renovating the old structure, and consolidating several outlying facilities into a new City Hall renovation.

Commissioner Richard Jankovich says he thinks consolidating makes sense, but wants to make sure currently overburdened facilities aren’t taxed even more by the move the project.

Jankovich, and other commissioners tasked the city staff to come back with a comprehensive look at the cost analysis of the project and the efficiencies gained through consolidation in hopes it would more clearly show the fiscal benefits of such a project.

Currently the city staff say there is 1.3 million dollars set aside in the City’s CIP fund which could be used for the project, but there would be around a one million dollar gap to be bridged to complete the project.

Commissioners debated on possibilities to close the gap, and included the community building being sold or re-purposed to save money, and ensure it was being used to its fullest potential.

Mayor Loren Pepperd says he thinks perhaps the community building could be used by the Riley County offices, or a joint venture between the city and county to fully realize efficiencies.

The next agenda item covered benefit districts, and the commission gave the city staff a direction to change the way special assessments worked to defray risk to the city at large, and find a way to put the risk back into the area in question.