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Area officials look to future

By Bryan Richardson

Area officials received information Thursday on the progress of Manhattan Area 2035, an update to the Manhattan Urban Area Comprehensive Plan, last updated in 2003, and the Manhattan Area Transportation Strategy.

Clarion Associates, the project’s lead consultant, presented during a joint meeting with the city and Pottawatomie and Riley counties at City Hall.

Two workshops were held simultaneously Wednesday at Manhattan Fire Station Headquarters and Green Valley Community Center for residents to review the policies and objectives set in the 2003 comprehensive plan.

City Commissioner Karen McCulloh said Clarion Associates, the project’s lead consultant, should incorporate the Riley and Pottawatomie counties needs assessment being done by the Riley County Seniors’ Service Center.

The online survey at for the assessment will remain open through May 26.

Ben Herman, a Clarion director, said the firm has been made aware of the assessment.

“The timing is perfect because their results should help,” he said.

Mayor Wynn Butler said he had concerns about whether the community input for Manhattan Area 2035 would be valid since only about 130 people have contributed opinions so far through the workshops and online.

“Percentage wise, that’s pretty miniscule to the population,” he said.

Herman said a statically valid survey would receive input from 500 to 600 people considering Manhattan’s current population of around 55,000.

He said Clarion has utilized homeowners associations, the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, and home builders association to help get the word out.

“You want to get it out to as varied a group of people as you can,” he said.

Residents also can give feedback online at through the “Plan Check-Up” tool. This tool will remain open through June 13.


Blue Township water project


City Manager Ron Fehr gave an update on the Blue Township water project.

Fehr said the water project is in two parts: an elevated water storage tank in Pottawatomie County and an extension of the city’s water line along the north side of U.S. Highway 24.

The project calls for temporary water connections to provide water for the Blue Township area.

Fehr said the city is circulating a draft internally to move the Eagles Landing water connection project along.

Pottawatomie County Commissioner Pat Weixelman said the rural water district being in charge of the process has made Pottawatomie County commissioners a third party.

“It’s not a good position to be in,” he said.

Weixelman said the Manhattan Area 2035 plan would need to include coordination between the city and Pott County on the water issue to ensure all parties’ needs are met.

“If it doesn’t go just right and there’s a problem, there’s going to be a rub here,” Weixelman said. “There haven’t been any rubs for a while. Things have been going pretty good.”

Fehr said the city also is working with Pottawatomie County for the county’s sewer code to match up with the city’s code, something that hasn’t occurred even though it’s a requirement for a 10-year agreement.



Riley County Board of Health


In addition to the previously mentioned studies, Brenda Nickel, director of the Riley County Health Department, said her department is planning local public health system assessment.

She said the assessment will deal with many things that contribute to the overall safety of the community, including emergency, law enforcement, health and advocacy organizations.

“It’s very impressive the interest that you have in identifying this not only through evidence-based data but perception about this region,” Nickel said.

Nickel said the next Riley County Board of Health meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Riley County Commission Chambers.

She said the health department will submit its proposed 2015 budget at the meeting.

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