Planning for a new 4-H building at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds is ready to begin, thanks to $675,000 provided by the Helen Dreher estate.
Douglas County commissioners on Wednesday night signed a letter expressing their desire to work with the 4-H Foundation to find a site, design and operate the building. A building committee will be formed and if all goes as planned, groundbreaking could begin in late summer or fall.
"We hope to have it completed in 12 months after the groundbreaking. Hopefully it won't take that long," said Trudy Rice, director of the Douglas County Extension Service.
In October, Lawrence lawyer George Catt announced that the money was being left to the 4-H Foundation at the request of Dreher, who died in 2005. Dreher asked that the funds be used to pay for a building at the fairgrounds for use by all 4-H clubs. In return she only asked that a plaque be placed on the building bearing the Dreher family name.
Rice said the building will be designed to meet the needs of all 4-H members and will be dedicated to 4-H extension educational activities. It could also include a concession stand, to replace the concession building that burned several years ago.
Commissioners designated Commissioner Jere McElhaney to represent them on the building committee, which will also include representatives of the 4-H Foundation, extension office, county government staff, the 4-H Council and fair board.
"This is really quite nice. We are blessed," Commission Chairman Bob Johnson said of the Dreher gift.
In other business, commissioners selected the Iowa-based A.M. Cohron & Son Inc. as the contractor for rehabilitating the Kansas River bridge at Lecompton. The firm's low bid was for more than $2.518 million.
The bridge is to be closed on March 12 so construction can begin.
The bid does not include repainting the bridge superstructure, which will take place after the rehabilitation project.
Last year, commissioners set out a requirement that the bridge be mostly completed by the time the 2007-08 school year begins in the Perry-Lecompton school district.
The county's Web site, www.douglas-county.com/, has information about the bridge project and it will be updated as the project progresses. The link to the information can be found at the bottom of the page under "What's new."
On another matter, commissioners approved a resolution forming a road benefit district for a half-mile portion of North 600 Road between Douglas County Road 1055 and East 1750 Road.