The Goessel City Council discussed the empty lots in the Harvest Meadows addition during its Oct. 16 meeting.
Currently, one lot has a house and 13 lots are empty. Russell and Jean Groves attended the meeting to talk about the empty lots with the council. They said they are interested in purchasing four of the lots.
Russell Groves said he and his wife would like to build houses for about $125,000. The houses would have 1,300 square feet, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Jean Groves said these houses are “good, solid, practical homes.” These will be “slab” houses with a safe room.
“It will be a quality house,” Russell Groves added, noting that these houses are FEMA approved and will be rated for a Greensburg tornado.
“They are made of quality materials,” he said. “They’re made to stand up to the Kansas weather. Groves added that these will be spec houses. Tony Clark would be the contractor.
Groves also mentioned they are planning to build similar houses in Hillsboro. The houses he has in mind have been approved in Hillsboro. He said they want to use as much local material and labor as possible.
Groves mentioned a similar house in Potwin that Clark had built in 70 days, and it sold quickly.
“It would suit this market perfectly,” Groves said.
City Attorney Joshua Boehm said the contractor would have 90 days to get started building a house and 180 days to complete it once it is started.
Mayor Dave Schrag reminded the council that the city had tried to auction the Harvest Meadows lots.
“They didn’t go for $50 a lot,” he said and suggested that the city give Groves four lots for free, adding that Groves will pay taxes and specials.
“We’re building a bigger tax base for Goessel,” Schrag said.
Clark was not at the meeting, but he expressed interest in one lot, with the “right of first refusal” on two other lots.
If Groves acquires four lots and Clark acquires one lot, the city will have eight empty lots left in the Harvest Meadows addition, with two of those lots being held for Clark.
Boehm will prepare an agreement on the lots for the city, Groves and Clark to review.
The council discussed heavy trucks and damage to city streets. Boehm said large trucks are hard on streets, and parked trucks create safety hazards; drivers can’t see around them, although cities do allow for deliveries and emergencies.
Otherwise, he said streets are not designed for that kind of weight for an extended length of time, and streets are not made for big trucks to go around corners at intersections.
He also noted other cities do not allow big vehicles to park on soft-surface streets. It was mentioned that heavy vehicles parked overnight or longer are especially hard on streets.
Water lines were also mentioned. The council was told that there had been at least a dozen leaks at a place where numerous large vehicles drive. Water lines there are three and a half feet deep.
Boehm suggested the city “protect the streets and eliminate blind spots; keep your sight triangles open.” He will work with the city to determine what truck parking to allow and what to limit.
In other business, the council:
• talked with Brian Lightner, Goessel junior high/high activities director, about putting a discus cage and a javelin runway on a piece of city land. That specific land is used by a group of people who fly remote control airplanes.
The council felt that everyone could come to an agreement so the land could work for both the school and the RC enthusiasts.
• talked about getting bids for a generator for the city building for use when electricity is off. Karen Dalke, public works director, said, “We try to keep our money in Marion County.”
• heard that new tires had been purchased for the city truck.
• talked about radios and sirens and noted that the siren at the fire station can be set off with a radio; someone does not have to actually go to the fire station to push a button. The current siren is meant to be heard outside and covers the entire town.
• noted that the city has 23 firefighters.
• discussed skunks in town.
• talked with Mitch Walter about refinancing the bond issue. The council approved the sale of the bonds and passed an ordinance allowing the bonds to be sold to the lowest bidder.
The council also passed a resolution outlining details of the bond sale. By refinancing debt, the city is likely to save $18,859 over the next 10 years.