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Florence City Council: Business development on drawing board

Staff writer

Steve Brosemer, surveyor and owner of L.S. GeoTech, Inc. of Emporia, presented information and options Monday evening to Florence City Council to proceed with a plan to turn a former football field into an area for commercial and industrial development.

Brosemer said the first step would be to talk to Kansas Department of Transportation about developing the highway approaches to the property.

“When you decide what kind of development you want — and you seem to have done that since you know you want your cliental to be commercial or light industry — then you need to decide what kind of configuration you want,” Brosemer said. “Two most important things are roads, including to and from the property, and the sanitary sewer system. Both should be developed carefully.”

He noted water access is important, but not as important as sewer.

“Some of these issues will be determined by what is already in place at that end of town,” he said. “For instance you may need detention ponds for rain water run-off. I imagine a heavy downpour causes rainwater to run down that hill (Eighth Street) at a pretty good clip. And if you a have a large concrete pad area, you’ll have even more run-off to take care of.”

The area encompasses 10.07 acres. Brosemer encouraged them to plan for large lots rather than chopping it into small lots.

“This will be easier to sell if certain things are ready for a buyer,” he said.

He told them to decide what incentives they can offer, get the commitment from KDOT, and place large, professional signs on the property near U.S.-50 with a schematic drawing and the offers they are willing to make to attract a business or industry.

Brosemer originally had come to the meeting to discuss surveying the property for development.

“I think you would be best served to go through these steps first,” he said. “I’d be happy to come back, do the job, and place the pins when you know for sure what your plan is.”

The council agreed to schedule a work session soon to make the decisions needed to proceed.

The council also discussed the placement of stop signs near Unity Park at Sixth and Marion streets. After discussion of a recent collision at the intersection and the high rate of speed people drive in the area, even though the street is adjacent to a park, the council approved installing stop signs on all four corners. The motion carried 3-1 with Councilman Trayce Warner opposed.

In a related topic, the noted accident at the Sixth and Marion intersection was at the center of a request for clarification on the “presence” of Police Chief Conroy Miller on weekends and evenings. Mike and Jackie Sigwing had witnessed the collision and called 911 for a police officer.

There was no response to their request until a sheriff’s officer finally responded — an hour later.

Mayor Greg Winn and several council members discussed the procedure when the local officer goes off-duty. Miller was out-of-state when the accident occurred.

Mike Sigwing said he would appreciate a more visible police presence on weekends and at night.

Questions also were asked about a police car being marked with decals so residents will know when Miller is on-duty. Winn said the city has the decals, but cannot put them on until outdoor temperatures remain higher than 68 degrees for five days.

Councilmen Bryan Harper and Warner agreed that they would like to see a higher degree of visibility and presence when Miller is on-duty. Miller said he understood their concerns and would make an effort.

Wynn also noted that better communication is needed between the sheriff’s office and the Florence community so that people know what to expect during those times that the county officers cover for Miller.

Harper thanked the Sigwings for a letter they had written to the council expressing their concerns before they appeared at the meeting.

“I appreciate this,” he said. “We need more citizens to come forward with their opinions and address us face-to-face instead of just complaining to other people. This is how citizens should voice their concerns.”

Last modified Feb. 4, 2009

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