Lyndon shows cautious support for senior housing, school bond

LYNDON—The actions of other entities that affect the city tied up much of the discussion of Monday’s Lyndon City Council meeting.

The council capitalized on the presence of Osage County Commissioner Ken Kuykendall to expand discussion on the possible closure of Sixth Street. USD 421 proposed the closure as part of a bond issue that could come to vote next year.

If passed as proposed, the city would need to reroute traffic to Jones Park and east of the city. The road is also a designated as part of the Federal secondary highway system (FAS) and currently falls under county maintenance.

The county, like the city, showed support of the district and bond in considering the option.

“What the county has said to the school district is that we are willing to talk and to listen,” said Kuykendall. “The city and county will have to work together, if that is going to be moved. Whether they vote to do it or not is really beyond our control, we just have to be ready to do it.”

Lyndon City Manager Kim Newman briefly discussed alternative routes with the city’s engineer. One option, which Newman estimated could cost as much at $1 million, would loop the route north around the high school. A second option, utilizing Eighth Street west to Gum Street, which would be need finished to the south, would be more.

“I just don’t see it being fiscally responsible for them to demolish building and close Sixth Street,” said Lyndon Mayor Brandon Smith. “All we can do is see how it impacts the city,” Newman replied.

Newman said the city’s engineer could do a study for $7,500 to better determine the cost of rerouting.

“I’ve proposed to superintendent we split the cost of that study three ways,” Newman said.

“I’m only a third of the commission, but I would support paying for it,” Kuykendall said. “There is something to be said for having numbers to base decisions on. Right now, none of us have that.”

The council motioned in favor of the study.

Representatives of a county-wide senior housing project were also at the meeting, including the project contractor Dave Osborne, developer Bill Caton and Stephanie Watson of Osage County Economic Development Corporation, the local general partner. The group is reapplying for credits for a four-unit senior housing project on land north of 14th and Adams streets, currently located outside the city.

“Our goal is to put another application in and get an investor so we can go forward with this project,” Caton said. “We’re asking, at minimum at this meeting, to pass a resolution of support.”

The city passed similar support last year, and members of the council expressed resentment, having received unsatisfactory communication after setting aside funds.

“I just have a bitter taste in my mouth from the whole project,” said council member James Kneisler. “It’s hard for me to vote yes on a piece of property not even annexed in the city. Last year we were planning on the project. We put other things on hold and didn’t hear anything back. Finally, we read in the paper it didn’t go through.”

Caton apologized for the miscommunication, and Kuykendall assured the city the county would assist in annexation.

“The county never opposes city’s annexing right next to where they’re at,” Kuykendall said.

Newman expressed concerns about space for driveways onto the road, but said the city investment for sewer would be minimal, around $10,000. Caton said they would be open to working out the driveway situation.

Watson encouraged the project, and indicated a large number of people qualified to live in the units.

“For every seven people that qualified, I need one to say they’re going to move in,” Watson said. “It’s a question of our residents that have lived here forever. Do we keep them here or do we let them go?”

The council moved by a 3-0 decision, with Chris Cole abstaining, to draw up a resolution of support to be passed at the Nov. 21 meeting.

In other business, the council:
• moved by consensus not to change policies in response to a request for subsidized utilities for senior housing.
• addressed a citizen concern about mail boxes removed during work on Adams Street. The city was to be replacing mailboxes this week.
• heard from Newman the city did not receive funding for a school resource officer.
• conducted a five minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel.
• tabled a decision on the purchase of LED lighting for city hall and main street until additional financing options had been received.

The Osage County Herald-Chronicle

The official newspaper of Osage County; the cities of Burlingame, Carbondale, Lyndon, Melvern, Olivet, Osage City, Overbrook, Quenemo and Scranton; Burlingame USD 454, Lyndon USD 421, Marais des Cygnes Valley USD 456, Osage City USD 420 and Santa Fe Trail USD 434.

All content @1863-2016 Osage County Herald-Chronicle, unless otherwise stated.

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