By Paul Rhodes
A major facelift for downtown Clearwater is about to get started.
At their meeting last week, members of the Clearwater City Council approved a bid of $188,065 for street curb and sidewalk improvements in the downtown area. The work will target Ross Avenue between Tracy and Lee streets.
The bid for the streetscape work that was approved last week was from Multicon Construction. Only one other bid was submitted, and it was substantially higher.
After some discussion, the city approved starting the work on Monday, Sept. 18, immediately following Clearwater Fall Festival. There had been some concern about starting the project before the Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversary Cattle Drive, which will come through Clearwater the following weekend, but the council decided it was better to move ahead on the original schedule.
“We need to get this done,” said Mayor Burt Ussery. “I think we should stick with the original start date and not worry about the impact from the cattle drive.”
One of the other scheduling concerns has to do with the community’s annual Downtown Halloween Celebration. The city wants the streetscape work completed in time for that event.
“We want to be able to showcase this project that night,” said Ussery.
The work approved by the city includes replacing sidewalks along that section of Ross Avenue with a decorative concrete pattern, and providing ADA-compliant curb heights. In addition to the work the city is funding, other improvements for that part of downtown include new streetlights, benches, trash cans and trees that are being funded privately by groups and individuals.
A Light Up Clearwater fundraising effort got the ball rolling on the streetscape improvements, and several donations have been made to help fund the other elements of the project. The plan includes eight decorative street lights, along with trees and other improvements.
The city plans to have all of the improvements completed in about four weeks. Sidewalk work will be done in phases to minimize the impact on businesses in the downtown area.
In other business at last week’s meeting, the council:
• Held a public hearing on special assessments for the Indian Lakes and Park Glen Estates developments. The council also approved an ordinance levying the special assessments for the two projects.
• Approved a resolution authorizing the city to participate in the Kansas Municipal Utilities Mutual Aid Program, and authorized the mayor to sign the agreement.
• Approved a Clearwater Emergency Services cadet training program.
•Approved an ordinance pertaining to hot air balloon launches and landings on city property.
• Reviewed a list of city projects that are being planned, and set dates for review or completion, where appropriate.
• Discussed the city’s Emergency Operations Plan, which looks at the city’s five top hazards – tornadoes, severe storms, winter ice storms, loss of electrical service and loss of water service. The city is planning an emergency training exercise with Sedgwick County in November.
• Noted that the city’s administrative order on its lagoon system has been discharged. The city will continue to monitor water quality at its lagoons to meet new standards.
• Held an executive session to discuss matters of non-elected personnel. No action was taken following the executive session.