The City of Manhattan has reached the urbanized area classification by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2010 Census. With this classification, a federal mandate has been made that a Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, must be created.
At Thursday’s, joint City of Manhattan, Riley County and Pottawatomie County meeting, a presentation was made by the Kansas Department of Transportation as to what the MPO will consist of and what they will be responsible for.
The MPO will be made up of a policy board with elected officials from the designated planning area, a technical advisory committee and the director and staff.
The funding for this organization will be done by both federal and local dollars, as an estimated $160,000 fund will come from the federal government, along with a twenty percent local match.
Though the urbanized area cannot be altered, the planning area can be maneuvered to fit the region. Because of this, five maps were shown as a starting point to the where the barrier lines should be for the area.
This issue will be brought back at the next city, county, county meeting on July 19 after members of each committee has time to examine the documents and maps.
There is some hope that the MPO will merge with the Regional Planning Organization.
“I’m encouraged about where things are headed,” said Ty Warner, Flint Hills Regional Council Director. “I think the region has figured out that nobody works well in isolation and this region can only succeed if we find how to work together.”
There is still more work to be done. Thursday’s meeting was just a starting point.