Marion council OK’s restroom project at ballfield

Baseball boosters apparently got the nod from the Marion City Council Monday to push ahead with plans for new restrooms at the baseball complex after it was learned that Marion Manufac?turing has pledged to donate a metal building to be put up with volunteer labor for the project.

Bids for full construction of the men?s and women?s restrooms with a concession stand were around $36,000 from two bidders. But proponents had high hopes for volunteers to do the job reliably.

Councilor Gene Winkler spoke for the governing body: ?I have no doubt the restrooms can be built. I just want you to find out how much money will be needed for only restrooms and how much money for material will be with a concessions added.?

The bids from Hett Construc?tion and Carr Construc??tion were for the restrooms made of cement blocks. Brad and Anita Seacat of Seacat Hardware, also volunteer workers on the project, offered discounts for building wooden restrooms.

Councilor Bill Holdeman said he didn?t want the restrooms made of wood because termite and rot might become problems under wet conditions with hosing down of the facilities part of the plan in keeping them clean.

Roger Schwab, high school shop teacher, said he drew the plans using concrete blocks for the purpose of sanitation, but he has no problem using metal.

Margo Yates said the restrooms would enable umpires and others to use existing restrooms and concessions for highly needed dressing rooms.

Anita Seacat said the new rooms would be ADA compliant. She was hopeful the project could be done for $20,000 using volunteers and the donation.

Yates said volunteer boosters already have made $15,000 in improvements at the ball diamonds in the last two years.

Holdeman said he wants to see work push ahead on the restrooms to have them done before the first tournament in July.

Mayor Mary Olson urged boosters to have volunteers to commit for ?real time? rather than coming to work only an hour or two at a time.

The council voted 4-0 in the absence of Councilor Stacey Collet to contract with Rose Mary Saunders as professional administrator for the $400,000 community block development grant for street improvements under federal guidelines that will pay her about 6 percent.

The council also approved an ordinance authorizing the execution of a loan agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation, and approved the loan agreement itself.

The council approved a new paragraph written for city ordinance amendment by City Attorney Dan Baldwin enabling zoning variances to be granted for larger sized accessory buildings such as garages.

City Development Director Jamie Williams said the variances are allowed only if buildings in question meet setback requirements.

Schwab, speaking as zoning board chairman, said he is concerned that the amended ordinance will broaden ?the scope? of allowable buildings too much.

Baldwin said it is written in such a way that nothing has to be approved ?unless you want it to be anyway.?

City Administrator David Mayfield told the council that Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage for city employees has risen 48 percent, and he wanted to know what they wanted to do about the city?s 50 percent co-pay for employee dependents such as spouses.

Under motion by Olson, the council voted 4-0 to reduce the co-pay to 25 percent.

Ralph Kreutziger of Hett Construction reported that the Arlie?s Body Shop steel building has been delivered at Batt Industrial Park. He said foundation footings have been poured, and the floor of the building will be too as soon as weather permits.

The council agreed to make $94,200 payment on the building to Hett?s. They also voted to make a final $750 payment to Hett?s on the Cardie Oil building. Kreutziger said some additional work for Cardie?s is being done at the site.

Mayfield said the city has received notification from Union Pacific that train speeds through the county have been increased from 40 to 49 mph.

Mayfield said the railroad also announced intentions to increase traffic to 53 trains daily passing through Marion, one every 20 minutes. He said that as part of frequency and speed increases, the railroad crossing from the Jex Addition on the south side has been closed because of safety considerations for visibility of approaching trains.

Scott Williams told commissioners this will lincrease problems for semi-trucks renting parking space at the Brewer property because 30,000-pound trucks will have to take alternate routes on streets with culverts perhaps not rated to hold them.

Mayfield said this may be a negotiating point with the railroad when its representatives come to settle on compensation for closing the crossing. They may need to pay more for street improvements, he said.

The council agreed to donate Central Park playground equipment being replaced by new equipment to the county for use at Marion County Lake.

They agreed to donate $200 for bowling to Big Brothers Big Sisters although Winkler said he is concerned with setting a precedent for donations to other organizations.

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