The Marion City Council at its meeting May 13 was alerted to alleged misinformation regarding the park board’s two proposed restroom sites.
Todd Heitschmidt, park board member and city councilor, spoke about the issue during public forum.
“Two weeks ago (the board) made a presentation and it has appreciated the public input thus far,” he said.
The two possible locations would be on the east side of the park near the swingsets and along the driveway or on the west side to the south of the fountain.
Heitschmidt said he was also disappointed about the misleading information provided by a local media outlet, which included whether the park board or city council had the final say on the plans.
When Heitschmidt addressed the city as a member of the park board at the April 30 meeting, he said decisions need to be made on how the park board should proceed.
“We are throwing the ball back into the council’s court in deciding a location (for the new restroom building) as we come up with more dollars of what this will cost,” he said.
At the April 30 meeting, he also reviewed what was needed, provided a history of why the gazebo and restrooms should be completed separately, along with the final phase being security equipment.
“I talked with them about it and I think some of it will be corrected.”
The unfortunate part of this, he said, is that the park board is trying to propose at least one location because of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s KLINK project scheduled to begin soon on Main Street.
“As far as the park board is concerned, we would rather not tear up Main Street after the KLINK project is completed,” Heitschmidt said.
Even if the city council can’t make a decision on the restroom locations, maybe it could consider stubbing in on either the east side or west side of the park until the board can do this.
City Administrator Doug Kjellin said it was discussed at the April 30 meeting that this needed to be brought to the city’s planning commission.
“It would be at the public hearing we would learn what the concerns are and based on majority of decisions, we would know where it will go,” he said.
Kjellin said there would be plenty of work to do after the public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. May 28 in council chambers. The hearing will address restrooms at Central Park.
Heitschmidt said there were strong devotions about the restrooms and the park board wants to take everybody’s point of view into account when making a final proposal to the council.
“We are trying to do some homework and make a presentation, but we haven’t even gotten that far yet.”
Mayor Mary Olson asked Heitschmidt if the park board ever thought about making a smaller bathroom at the original location.
“That was talked about a year and a half ago.” he said.
It was the concensus of the park board that a lift station was part of it and to get a bigger restroom, a larger lift station would be necessary.
Although Heitschmidt said the board wasn’t for certain, they thought even a larger sewer line might be required back to Main Street even in the existing location.
Kjellin said he was already looking into it.
The idea of moving the actual restroom somewhere else was desirable in order to put in a larger gazebo at that existing spot, Heitschmidt said.
“A proposed larger gazebo would be open all the way around so that people could actually see through it and clear to the back of the park, allowing for handicap ramps to be installed with the new gazebo design.”
According to Heitschmidt, that was part of the recommendation.
“Yes, that was considered with a larger restroom than what is there,” he said.”It was never the park board’s intention to say this is our idea and you have to adopt it—period.
“(The park board) was disappointed there was some jumping ahead of what the community thought was going to be there from our proposal. It is the city’s park and we never intended to desecrate the beauty of the park or desecrate the memorials that are there.”
Heitschmidt said the board talked about a lot of options and it came down to several, but it is back to the council to make that decision.
In addition to Heitschmidt, other park board members are Dale Johnson, Amy Rowles, Pam Bowers, Dave Hett and Angela Lange.
In other business, the council:
• heard from Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd regarding its financial audit for 2012. Jan Nolte, representing the audit firm, reviewed the report with the mayor, members of the city council and staff.
• listened to a presentation by WRAPS coordinator Peggy Blackman regarding the program. The public and elected officials are also encouraged to attend a general meeting at 4 p.m. June 4 in the Marion Community Center.
The meeting will include a tour of the watershed and presentations by Blackman, Tom Stiles, Ed Carney, Environmental Quality for KDHE; Bobbi Wendt, Neosho Basin advisor and Phil Barnes, KSU Biological and Agricultural engineering.
• approved a use policy for Marion Baseball/Softball Complex. The pricing is for groups outside of USD 408, league tournaments, team hosting other events related to the field.
• approved paying Evans Bierly Hutchison & Associates $4,000, the balance remaining for Kansas KLINK from Kansas Highway 256 and Locust to First Street.
• refinanced the former Arlie’s building at 828 N. Roosevelt with Central National Bank at a 3.25 percent interest rate with payments of $1,658.11 for 15-year amortization and $1,339.72 for a 20-year amortization.
• received invitation from the Marion County Commissioners regarding a single-stream recycling program meeting at 10 a.m. May 28.
• was given a letter on behalf of the Kiwanis Club regarding the two park restroom proposals.
The club voted in favor of the second proposal with the restroom building being placed in the northwest corner of the park west of the existing water fountain. At this location, the letter noted that no lift station would be required and it would not interfere with the park’s beauty.