Peabody residents hear about long range plan


News editor

With a group of about 30 people in attendance Monday night, Peabody mayor and city council heard Kansas State University instructor John Keller explain the comprehensive plan a group of his graduate students will be creating for the city during the spring semester.

The last time a comprehensive plan was developed for the city was in the late 1970s. Such a plan is a road map for future development. It also is a necessity if the city is to qualify for certain grants and funding.

A community's economy, infrastructure, architecture, history, zoning, housing, and population trends all are a part of the study.

According to Keller, his group of students will work with a core group of Peabody citizens. The students will be in the community a number of times between now and the end of the semester when the final report will be presented.

None of the students will be paid for their work, but they will be reimbursed for some expenses. The KSU instructor selects one community a year for this project. The total cost to the city will be less than $5,000.

Keller is a certified public planner and the work his students do will meet all criteria for a community comprehensive plan. The city had previously budgeted $45,000 over a three-year period for the same project with a private consulting firm.

Twelve to 14 local people will be needed to form the core group of residents with whom the students will work.

Periodic project updates will be made available to the community through the city newsletter and the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin.

In other business, the council:

— heard from Food Mart manager Nelda Phillips that a city employee helping with snow removal broke a concrete top and stand pipe from the underground well monitoring system at the southeast edge of the Food Mart parking lot. Phillips was told the city would check the problem this week.

— accepted a payment plan from Verna Gervais for water expelled into a basement from a water leak.

— declared the nuisance at 405 Vine abated, agreed to have the city abate the nuisance at 111 S. Olive, and issued a continuance for two other properties. By unanimous vote, council also agreed to let stand a bill to Waylon Carson for fees related to the abatement of his property at 213 N. Plum.

— heard a 2007 year-end report from Peabody Main Street director Kristen Hooper. Volunteer time and donations were reviewed. City advertising for Marion County Resource Guide were approved and Main Street was given permission to hang a banner from the support braces under the metal stairway on the south side of the city building.

— heard the city had billed the individual who drove into the former steam plant $1,500 for demolition of the structure.

— approved a work agreement for new city court clerk Cindy Harms.

— heard the county flood map update project is ongoing.

— entered an executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel. Main Street president Mary Avery and vice president Morgan Marler were included in the session.

— heard the sewer project received its sixth time extension. Currently the contract calls for final activity to take place before July 15.

— heard that Mayor Ed Slocombe will attend a meeting Jan. 28 about U.S.-50. The meeting is to ensure that the highway is included in Kansas Department of Transportation's long term plan.

— approved and clarified a "cash only" policy for residents who give the city insufficient funds checks when paying for utilities. If a resident issues three such checks he will be put on a cash only basis for one year from the date of the third check. He must request re-instatement after that time. Once re-instated, if another insufficient funds check is issued the customer immediately reverts to a cash only basis.

— heard that Westar is installing service to the new city shop. The electrical work was done by a licensed contractor and was inspected and approved by Westar.

— received a rough estimate for paving and curb and gutter replacement in the city. A block and a half will cost $150,000. The city budget for streets is $45,000 with an additional $55,000 coming from the one-cent sales tax passed by city voters a year ago.