Florence: Monetary gift, economic development plan accepted


Peabody Gazette-Bulletin Editor

Florence Mayor Greg Winn and three of the four council members met Monday night and discussed issues with economic impact for the city.

Winn announced the receipt of a gift from Harold and Peggy Van Buren in the amount of $1,500 to be used to help individuals who have difficulty paying their utilities. Winn said the city would be sending an acknowledgment of the gift with the city's thanks for the Van Burens' generosity. Some discussion was had as to how the funds would be distributed. Winn said that issue would be addressed at a future work meeting.

Winn, councilman Trayce Warner, and Marion County Economic Development director Teresa Huffman told the council that a group of developers interested in creating a housing project in the former nursing home had been in contact with the city. The city will survey residents in Florence, Burns, Cedar Point, and Peabody to determine whether or not there is a need in the area to develop the property as an apartment complex. The council voted to allow the estimated $360 to print and distribute the survey.

In other business, the council:

— approved warrant 2007-24 in the amount of $22,626.72.

— approved the purchase of a heavy duty bucket blade for the city tractor. The cost will be $238.

— heard from city superintendent Phil Baldwin that streets in Florence were pre-treated prior to the ice and snow that arrived the weekend of Dec. 8.

— heard a request from councilman Bryan Harper to have the snow completely bladed from the streets instead of piling it up in the middle of the street as has been the habit in recent years.

"It begins to melt and then it refreezes," said Harper. "Then we go through a couple of weeks in that freeze and thaw cycle and it is hard on the streets."

Baldwin indicated the snow had been removed although it had been piled in the middle of Main for a brief period to allow citizens to park in front of the businesses they wished to patronize.

— heard a request from Florence Historical Society for annual year-end funding. City clerk Janet Robinson said the check would be sent shortly.

— discussed a request by Harper to consider establishing a fund that would pay for the addition of snowflake decorations down Fifth Street from U.S.-50 to Main Street. No action was taken.

— expressed appreciation to Joe Heath for assisting with snow removal.

— approved a suggestion by councilman Warner to offer the city of Peabody the use of the Florence chipper-shredder when Peabody employees begin the process of clearing alleyways.

— heard that Del Leeds, Winn, and Warner met with members of USD 408 with concerns about the transfer of property from the district to the city of Florence. Winn noted that some changes will be taking place soon that will "remove some of the politics" from the situation.

"We are confident the transfer will take place soon," he said.

— heard also from Winn that he has written a letter of support to Kansas Department of Commerce for Florence PRIDE committee to get a grant for Veteran's Park development.

— heard Neva Reid sent the council copies of the original transaction between the city and Larry and Karen Hastings, owners of the condemned former school buildings.

— heard from Heath the electrical cord providing power to the tree in the middle of the Fifth and Main intersection needs to be raised to keep traffic from "hooking" it.

— heard from Baldwin that new city employee Greg Graham will begin work Wednesday.