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Peabody City Council: Roundabout repairs will close highway in May

Application filed for first of stimulus money

Staff writer

Street and highway projects in and around Peabody took center stage Monday night at Peabody City Council meeting.

Joe Palic and Doug Lind with Kansas Department of Transportation attended to report on repairs being planned for the Florence roundabout. Repairs will require U.S.-50 being closed from Newton to Elmdale.

Palic explained the scope of the project to Mayor Ed Slocombe and council members. Approaches to the roundabout on U.S.-50 and U.S.-77 have suffered structural failure and need to be replaced. Palic said KDOT plans to begin work the first week in May if weather permits.

“We will run work crews 24 hours a day for a week,” he said. “We hope to start the project at 7 a.m. Monday and work straight through until Sunday evening.”

Palic said local traffic will be able to get to Florence using a combination of county roads and state and federal highways, but cross-country truck traffic will be detoured around U.S.-50 from Newton to Elmdale.

Local streets were on the docket as well as Jim Ralston of APAC Construction who presented a new plan for street repair in Peabody.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will put $4 million into a Kansas district that includes Marion County. Towns may present proposals to get a portion of that money for street and road repair.

Ralston and the council had previously agreed to begin work this spring on several areas of street repair in Peabody. After the city received word of the ARRA money, Ralston was contacted to create a new plan for repairs.

Guidelines for the project include the requirement that it qualify for federal funds (be a direct link to county, state, or federal byways) and be a project that will last at least seven years.

The council reviewed the options and selected an application for an 80/20 split on funds (with the city paying 20 percent of the projects). Council members unanimously approved a plan to repair Walnut Street from Ninth to Division streets and a second plan to repair Walnut from Division streets to Burlington-Northern-Santa Fe tracks, not including the parking areas.

Final numbers have not yet been prepared for the application, which is due Friday.

Interim city clerk Stephanie Ax said at press time a letter of support for the project had been received from Marion County Commissioners and would be forwarded with the application.

In other business:

  • A request by Robert Gerety to run a city water line to his house one-fourth mile west of Peabody, outside the city limits was denied. The state will not allow additional annexation of bordering properties for water service.
  • Members of Peabody-Burns Recreation Commission presented plans for a 42x72-foot volleyball pit on land the city owns at the southeast corner of Locust and Second streets. PBRC paid for the land, but by statute cannot own property so the city owns it. Work on the volleyball pit will begin in June, with completion slated for July 1. PBRC will fund the project, which is the first phase of development for the area. Next summer, the group hopes to install a concrete basketball court. Landscaping, seating, and parking areas also are slated for completion in the future.
  • Hiring seasonal help was discussed and tabled until after the Tuesday evening budget meeting.
  • Council briefly reviewed the criteria set up several years ago for the city’s free lots program. After discussion, council members agreed to send the criteria list to the planning and zoning committee for possible changes.
  • Discussion of the future of the former city shop and the Butler House at the corner of Sycamore and Second streets resulted in the council agreeing to entertain proposals for use of the buildings that are at the edge of the historic downtown district.
  • Ax reviewed new tax requirements to meet Recovery Act guidelines, announced the new city shop has been connected to DTN speed Internet, asked for a review of the water complaint policy, and requested verification of KPERS contributions for Peabody Main Street Director Shane Marler.
  • The council discussed but took no action on a suggestion by Mayor Slocombe to sell 10 acres of the industrial park to Prairie Lawn Cemetery.
  • An announcement was made that Partners of Peabody Parks will meet at 10 a.m. March 21 at Santa Fe Park to inspect city parks. Public works director Darren Pickens will meet with the group.
  • Complaints were presented to health and safety officer Tammy Whiteside about several nuisance properties.
  • It was noted that Peabody Senior Center would host a candidate forum following lunch March 19 at the center.
  • The council entered two executive sessions to discuss personnel. No action was taken following return to open meeting.

Last modified March 12, 2009

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