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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

County to again offer sidewalk cost-share grants this year

Updated: Apr 11

This section of sidewalk along Center Street in Parker was replaced under Linn County's grant program cost-share last year. (Journal file photo)

By Charlene Sims,

MOUND CITY – Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower updated the commissioners on the Sidewalk Grant on Monday, March 18, telling them the economic development committee had approved the grant and asked approval for sending the grant information out to the cities. The commissioners approved the grant with a unanimous vote.

Hightower explained to the commissioners that the sidewalk grant was a three-way split with the county, the city and the property owners each paying for a share of the project. She said that the maximum amount for the grant is $7,50,0 so each entity puts in $2,500 towards the project. She said that anything over that amount was on the owner of the property.

Hightower told the commissioners that the county had been awarding this grant for several years and last year Parker received it. She said that the number of applicants depends on how many cities have this amount in their budgets to match this grant. Economic Development sets aside $5,000 per year in its budget for this grant.

Hightower told the commissioners that the cities manage everything about the grant once the county approves it and sends a check to the city. The city deals with all the paperwork on the project. 

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved on a 2 to 1 vote making the planning and zoning codes and sanitation administrator’s post a salaried position at just over $54,300 a year. The post is currently held by Darin Wilson

Commissioner Danny McCullough said that the commission had talked about this when they first hired Wilson. He said the commission asked Wilson to rebuild that office and he has done a good job. 

McCullough continued, “A lot has been put on his plate, and I think he has done a fabulous job. Last year, we had budgeted $55,000 for it and told him that we would assess it as the time came, so I think it is time.”

Commissioner Jim Johnson, who voted against the increase, said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think we are just growing government. More vehicles on the road.”

• Approved a surplus property resolution for damaged, broken and outdated equipment. This includes some cameras and GIS equipment, some of which are broken or just obsolete according to Public Works Director Shaun West.

• Approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Evergy about two bridges, one along 2200 Road over the La Cygne spillway, the other at Young Road over the Kansas City Southern railroad spur. Those are bridges that Evergy owns, and by approving the agreement, it would get those bridges off of the county’s inspection list.

West said that the state made a push about a year and a half ago to get them assigned, and across the state Evergy is the only private bridge owner. So, they came up with all the MOAs with all the counties or entities to get those moved over to them and give them access. They will do the inspections and have the bridges updated in the state website.

West said that the county is responsible for snow removal, maintenance as far as the removal or cleaning of the roadway, repair, replacement of guardrails, replacement of pavement but not limited to milling or overlay, chip and seal or any striping.

Evergy owns the bridges, and the company is taking over all the inspections and the care of the bridge structures themselves.  

• Learned that the agreement had been finalized with Brad Aust about raising the roadway near the Aust Land and Cattle Company. West said that all agreements were signed including a waiver about using some fill material from Aust.

• Heard some answers that they had requested from Terracon presented by West. There will be a meeting next week to discuss planning and funding for future projects and changes at the landfill.

• Decided to go back out for bids for engineering the swimming area at the Linn County Park after discussing the project with West.

West told them that a request for proposal for engineering, which is required by Evergy, was sent out in 2023 and the bids came back ranging from $50,000 to $55,000. After the engineering plan is compete, it has to be approved by Evergy and the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Department.


McCullough stressed the importance of getting a swimming area at the lake because it would bring in more campers.

“Not everybody wants to watch their Dad throw a fishing pole all day. They might want to go swimming,” said McCullough.

West told the commissioners that hiring an engineer for the swimming area was the only way that the county could move ahead with it.

• Learned from West that the sewer lagoon work at the park would start back up on March 25.

• Heard a report on the Pleasanton Senior Center from West. He said that the painting was started and he hoped that flooring would get started soon and bathrooms done. After that, stoves and furniture would be moved in.

• Learned that the old district court building is getting close to occupancy. West said that Information Technology (IT) Director Chris Martin has been working on terminating the lines on the fiber and he projected that would be done toward the end of this month.

West said after that cleaning of the building will be done including cleaning of the carpets.

• Approved a new part-time job position of 30 hours per week which would combine the part-time transportation van driver and the clerk in the public works office positions. Nicole Brown, the current part-time transportation driver was hired for the split transportation driver/clerk position.

• Gave approval to the Trading Post Museum Director Ali Hamilton that the county approved of a highway sign that showed that Trading Post was an unincorporated city off of U.S. Highway 69.

Hamilton told the commissioners that what she had really wanted was a Trading Post Museum sign off the highway, but she is required to prove that the museum had two years of at least 2,000 visitors annually so that sign is on hold.

“Because 69 Highway does not split through Trading Post, we are not actually in the manual to get that sign off 69,” Hamilton said. “So they are requesting that the commissioners approve one that it says ‘Trading Post exit via County Road’.”

According to Hamilton the Linn County Commission would have to make an official request to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for a “Trading Post via County Road” sign. She said that once the commission approves it, KDOT pays for the sign and the construction.  


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