Council begins planning for major street improvement


By Paul Rhodes, TSnews

CONWAY SPRINGS – After months of discussions, and even some preliminary efforts with improvements to Second Street, the Conway Springs City Council is ready to dive into efforts for a major street improvement project in the community.
At their meeting last week, council members heard from Darin Neufeld with EBH, a Kansas civil engineering firm hired by the city to look at its street repair needs. Neufeld presented the draft of the street Capital Improvement Planning document to the council, showing the ratings of the streets and getting council’s opinion on the top four streets to be looked at first.
In addition, Neufeld and the council discussed grant writing and the next steps in the city’s efforts to secure funding for a major street improvement project. Neufeld said he will be back for the council’s Feb. 28 meeting with a final copy of the plan for approval.
In July of last year, the council agreed that Second Street in Conway Springs was “one of the worst in town,” and began the process of getting bids to repair it. That work was completed recently, and provided a fully upgraded street.
Earlier last year, the council made a commitment to begin looking at street repairs across the city. The city first worked on compiling a list of the streets in most need or repairs, and then agreed to get some kind of estimate on the cost for those repairs.
That’s when the city turned to officials at EBH. Neufeld has been working to gather information and will help the city seek funding for street repairs.
In other business at last week’s meeting, the council:
• Heard from Meghan Graffis, who asked about several issues, including hosting a Farmers Market, school involvement for sex education, and the city offering any block grants for structural issues for homes. Council informed Graffis that she would need to speak to the Community Foundation on hosting a Farmers Market, and the school regarding the classes. Currently the city is not pursuing or involved in any grant for structural issues.
• Discussed the minutes of January 10, 2023, and approved as amended.
• Discussed Appropriation Ordinance 2034 – questioned check #32716 for Wheatland Electric for electricity at the park. Clerk explained this covers park, tennis courts, pool, and sports complex. Approved Appropriation Ordinance 2034.
• Discussed the holiday pay option and floating holiday designation. Council member T.J. Sones to write up formal wording for holiday pay and present at February 14 meeting. Sones motioned to approve the floating holiday to be observed as one day of the month of the employee’s birthday, that is to be worked out between the employee and the department head. Council approved.
• Discussed with Meghan Graffis the findings of Block Grants from Blue Rapids, Kansas, Sones to investigate how this funding would work for Conway Springs.
• Received and approved an invoice for a laptop the Fire Department would like to purchase to replace the outdated equipment.
• Discussed the lack of a carnival for Fall Fest, and discussed bringing in and staging a live circus for 2023 Fall Fest and any codes or temporary actions to be put in place.
• Discussed the empty lot that used to house the old water tower and the city’s plan to use this land.
• Held an executive session for non-elected personnel. No binding action was taken.
• Heard a request for the Kansas Rural Water voting delegate decision, and council members stated they would like to nominate a maintenance department employee.