Pottawatomie County commissioners have signed off on a contract for preliminary design and acquisition of property for the proposed detention pond north of Junietta Road and west of Moody Road in Blue Township.
County Engineer Nathan Bergman discussed with commissioners on Monday a potential timeline over the next several months that could see the design portion of the project get developed.
A drainage study has deemed the pond or a dam will be necessary before future residential development in that area can proceed. It would be a dry pond, primarily used for flood mitigation in the area.
Ideally, Bergman says the developer hopes to have the land platted by April with bid letting to take place shortly thereafter in order to start selling lots by next fall. Commissioner Pat Weixelman says he plans to take a slower, more methodical approach on this project.
The commission has been reluctant to move too quickly on the project, primarily wanting to ensure it’s done correctly and not a cost burden to the county. Commission Chair Greg Riat also reiterated the point that the county shouldn’t be getting into the business of developing and maintaining detention ponds.
Riat was referring in that clip to a letter sent by the Blue Township board last week. That letter expressed the township’s intent not to support helping fund a signalized crossing at Green Valley Road and Nature Ave., scolding the commission for using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, to pay out employee bonuses. The ARPA funds have certain requirements for usage and that project was not one of them. (Riat was our guest on KMAN’s In Focus Tuesday – Listen here)
The county is required to have the project completed by 2025, based on an agreement between it and property owner Brandt Rudzinski.
In other business Monday, the commission got a brief update from Westmoreland resident Natha Manges on the potential future of the Pottawatomie County Courthouse.
Manges says after a September meeting, she and others with the Save the Courthouse initiative attended a workshop in early October about grant writing. She believes there may be avenues for grants to help fix up some the deteriorating building and re-purpose it. She’s hoping to gather more input from Pottawatomie County residents in the new year.
The building has sat vacant for close to a decade upon the building of a new facility for the district courts, Sheriff’s Office and other county offices. Commissioners are reluctant to move forward on any project since it’s on the state historic registry requires extensive repair for any re-purposing. Commissioner Dee McKee says in many cases it’s just not feasible.
McKee is interested in razing the building while both Riat and Weixelman remain open to some sort of renovation, if the cost isn’t too much of a burden. The property is currently on the state historic registry and is one of the oldest standing county courthouses in Kansas.
The commission also received monthly updates from EMS, the County Attorney’s Office and Emergency Management during Monday’s meeting.