By the time warm weather returns, a new bicycle motocross track could be dug in Edgewood Park.
Lawrence city commissioners agreed to allow Mountain Bike Lawrence, a local bicycle club, to install a BMX track at the northwest corner of the park, across Brook Creek from the nearby East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th.
Paul Davis, a co-organizer of the project, said the club would work to get necessary floodplain permits, which could take 60 to 90 days. After that, members will grab shovels and build obstacles that could be available for use next spring.
The area would be larger than a football field, covering nearly 100,000 square feet. But the entire area won't be dirt -- just enough room to install some "table tops," "doubles," "triple jumps," turns and a "fun box."
Davis expects the area to draw plenty of children and teens, ranging from fifth grade through high school.
"It's going to take off quick," he said.
Commissioners gave the plan unanimous approval more than two months after rejecting similar plans for a track off the Kansas River levee. Neighbors objected to that plan, but members of the Brook Creek Neighborhood Assn. embraced the plan for Edgewood Park.
Fred DeVictor, director of parks and recreation, warned commissioners that the track could require more supervision from staffers at the recreation center. Estimated cost next year: $9,000.
health insurance rates
City employees with family health care coverage will face higher premiums.
Commissioners unanimously approved next year's health care program for city employees. Rates for dependent coverage will increase by $5.93 per pay period, up from $50.
City employees who worked on the plan -- Ray Hummert, Martha Bach, Lori Carnahan, Ed Mullins and Jim Wilkins -- received plaudits from commissioners for their recommendations.
"Thank you for all your hard work," Mayor Bonnie Augustine said.
City to declare
832 Conn. `abandoned'
It has no resident, no utilities and nobody willing to pay its property taxes.
But commissioners are willing to declare a home at 832 Conn. abandoned, a move that could lead to its renovation by the Lawrence Preservation Alliance (LPA).
Commissioners agreed to have commissioners draw up a resolution that would declare the property abandoned -- a legal term that would allow a nonprofit group to take possession of the property for renovation purposes.
The resolution would be approved next week, possibly along with another resolution that would deem the property "unsafe and dangerous" and order either its repair or demolition.
But Harold Shephard, a local contractor, once again reasserted his claim that he has a contract to buy the property, which is on the hook for $3,082 in unpaid property taxes. All he has to do is get the paperwork through probate court.
"It'd be dangerous if we were trying to rent it to somebody," said Shephard, who in the past has accused the city of discrimination in its bidding practices. "There's no electricity there. There's no water there. There's no gas there. There's not going to be some big explosion.
"What's the big danger there?"
Commissioners also reasserted their claim that the property has been in disrepair for months.
Oread may apply
for alley signs
Commissioners approved plans to apply for federal funds to install "private parking only" signs in selected alleys in the Oread neighborhood.
Oread Neighborhood Assn. wants to install the signs at entrances to selected alleys between Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Louisiana streets.
The signs would be posted, however, only if financing is approved through the city's Community Development Block Grant program. The signs would be intended to prevent bar patrons from parking in private parking spaces located off alleys in the neighborhood.
Applications for block grants are due by Dec. 1. The city typically receives about $1.1 million for the program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
for skid loader
The city wants a new skid loader and will ask the state for $30,000 to buy one.
Commissioners agreed to apply for a $30,000 "Solid Waste Competitive Implementation Grant" from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which would finance the purchase of a loader essential to the city's fledgling cardboard recycling program.
The loader would operate alongside a horizontal baler, already approved through a previous $50,000 grant from KDHE.
Both pieces of equipment would be used for the city's processing of old corrugated cardboard and newspaper.
So far, the city has diverted more than 275 tons of cardboard from the landfill, said Mollie Mangerich, who oversees the city's recycling programs, in her grant application. Of all waste generated by Lawrence businesses, 28 percent is corrugated cardboard.
The grant application is due in Topeka on Friday.
Commissioners signed off on the sale of 16 pieces of city equipment to various bidders.
First Management Inc., headed by former Commissioner Doug Compton, landed four vehicles: three Ford pickups and a 1990 Dulevo 120SF Parking Lot Sweeper.
Total cost: $10,791.50.
The vehicles were sold as part of a competitive bidding process. Auto dealers, repair shops and individuals also bid on equipment.
Low bids lost out. Hite Collision Repair's $80 bid for a 1987 Chevrolet Celebrity lost out to Tricia A. Smart, who bid $1,207. Bill Ray landed a 1991 Ford Taurus police sedan for $2,000.
for landfill repairs
Commissioners agreed to hire R.D. Johnson to handle repairs at an old landfill in Lawrence.
The Wakarusa Landfill, which operated from 1967 to 1971, is targeted for erosion-control repairs after officials noticed some trash that had been washed away by runoff from lagoons at the nearby Clinton Water Treatment Plant.
The landfill is located behind the plant and northwest of Clinton Parkway and Wakarusa Drive.
R.D. Johnson will be paid $94,100 to handle the repairs, which will involve covering up the area with dirt in the form of six terraces. Plans also call for installing sections of 18-inch pipe and rock-lined ditches to carry runoff from the lagoons.
A woven-wire fence south of the property line also would prevent "future migration" of solid waste off the site, plus restrict access to the fill area.
The repairs are being financed in part by a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.