Riley County commission objects church historic status 2-1; looks for alternate procurement methods

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Riley County commissioners have objected the historical status of the First Christian Church property. The vote was made 2-1, with Commissioner Kathryn Focke voting against.

A hearing from the National Register of Historic Places is set to take place on August 7th. If the property is deemed historical, then the commission would need permission for demolition. County Counselor Clancy Holeman explains the process.

      Clancy Holeman

Holeman presented a draft letter stating the commission’s stance and included the county’s master plan and intention for demolition.

Commission Chair John Ford asked if they could continue with the demolition process until the hearing, to which County Clerk Rich Vargo says is possible.

      Rich Vargo

Commissioner Kathryn Focke was strongly against the idea, saying they were rushing the decision.

      Kathryn Focke 1

Commission Chair John Ford responded saying he isn’t excited about demolishing the building, but is trying not to pump more money into the project. Ford brings the decision back to the need for space for the county.

      John Ford 1

Focke says she still doesn’t feel that all options have been explored yet for the future of the building.  She also wants to wait to see what the outcome of the status hearing will be.

      Kathryn Focke 1

Focke says she is hearing from members of the public who are opposed to demolition and hasn’t heard anyone in favor. Both Ford and Commissioner Greg McKinley say they have heard the complete opposite on their ends.

Ford also responded to Focke’s comments on exploring more options.

      John Ford 2

The commission has not yet decided whether or not to move forward with the sole source option. Ford says he would like to see all of the available options during a future meeting.

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County government and school board reporter. 2016 Kansas State University graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications. Kansas born and raised.

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