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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

La Cygne resident's offer to volunteer to work in park gets mixed reaction

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

LA CYGNE – A partial makeover of Bittiker Park by volunteers got a partial thumbs up, at least by the La Cygne City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 15. However, Dan Nasalroad, public works superintendent, was hesitant to let volunteers do the work that he said the city crew could do.

City resident Tanner Snow appeared before the council during the meeting’s public forum session. He offered to do several things including repaint lines on the basketball court, replant some grass seed and take care of dirt work on a volunteer basis. He asked that the council furnish two gallons of paint, which he priced at $104 at Stainbrook’s, and tape to lay out the lines.

He said that his friends and parents of children who used the park would help with the project. He also talked about replacing the light near the basketball court.

After saying that his crew could do the work, Nasalroad talked about vandalism at the park. He said the light is a repeated target for vandals. He also said that vandals had dropped the whole tower the last time it needed repair.

Nasalroad did say, however, that he thought the park needed to have two basketball courts, one for big kids and another for little kids. He also said that the parking needed to be extended.

While Nasalroad might have had reservation about using volunteer help, the council did not.

Councilman David Brenneman said he liked the idea of volunteers working to improve the city.

After City Clerk Jodi Wade reminded the council that volunteers needed to sign a workers comp waiver form, the council voted unanimously to approve $250 in supplies for the project.

The council also approved a resolution that clears the way for the city to take out a long-term loan on its sewer rehabilitation project. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the loan for the city in August 2020 for $6.261 million at 1.125% annual interest for 40 years.

With representative Abby Mills from BG Consultants on an internet video feed, the council discussed an $80,000 change order on the sewer project that will leave about $1.1 million for lagoon improvements and lift station installation.

Council members expressed concern about about the slope, or rather the lack of a slope, on a main sewer line between Eighth and Ninth streets and between Sycamore and Elm streets that has ended up with a .1% slope. The state’s minimum slope requirement is .4%.

Crews calculated the slope at .34% before the relining project. Mills said that the cost to reset the slope of the main at $325,000 with an alternative to install a grinder pump for as much as $10,000.

That cost will not be covered in the current rehab project.

Mills also discussed the storm water management plan being developed by her firm. She said she is currently working on mapping problem areas in the city based on results of a survey of residents late last year. From that she will prepare a prioritized list of projects the city needs to address.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved filing an insurance claim to repair the city’s 2020 Chevy Silverado pickup for $5,400 at Midwest Collision. The truck was damaged during a recent ice storm when it slid off the road. The motion also approved paying the $1,000 deductible.

  • Approved the purchase of outdoor Christmas decorations from Mosca Design in Raleigh, N.C., for just over $7,000. The items approved in the purchase included a 17-foot Christmas tree with attached tree topper and LED lights and an illuminated deer family. Lincoln Township donated $2,500 toward the purchase, according to Nasalroad.

  • Approved reimbursing Councilman Brenneman for expenses in ordering an information sign for Oaklawn Cemetery. Brenneman abstained from voting on the issue.

  • Met for 20 minutes in a closed-door session to discuss the acquisition of real estate. The council did not disclose the purpose of the acquisition.

  • Voted to conduct a workshop prior to the next council meeting to continue work on codes relating to recreational vehicle storage. The workshop will be at 6 p.m. on March 1 at the La Cygne Community Building.

  • Approved a rate increase for curbside trash pickup from Waste Management. The 4% increase bumps the monthly cost up to $17.57 for residential and up to $23.57 for two carts. There is a $1 a month registration fee added to that amount.

  • Discussed plans for the community building. After watching a presentation by BG Consultants, the city’s engineering firm, on a laptop, Councilman Jerome Mitzner said the city should install a large screen monitor for presentations. However, Wade reminded him that there was no internet access in the community building.

  • On a split 3-1, the council approved entering into an natural gas prepayment agreement with the Kansas Municipal Gas Agency. The agreement is intended to lower the cost to the city and its customers. However, Councilman Brenneman opposed the agreement. He said in the past he was leery of the agreement actually costing the city more money.

  • Were informed that the La Cygne Chamber of Commerce planned to hold its annual Easter egg hunt on April 8 at La Cygne Community Park.

  • Were reminded that the city’s planning and zoning committee will be conducting an open house on April 12 for residents to review a draft of the city’s comprehensive plan.

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