County supports Junction City map

By Maura Wery

The Riley County Commission on Thursday put its stamp of approval on a map for the metropolitan planning organization that includes not only Manhattan, Ogden and Fort Riley, but also Junction City.

Commissioners said they chose the map (labeled 4a) over one that excluded Junction City because of its regionality.

“If we are going to be thinking about planning then we have to go with the 4a map,”  Commissioner Karen McCulloh said.

The main function of the MPO is to make decisions about the priority of area transportation projects. Commissioners said they wanted to see the planning organization go with a regional concept, similar to the one that had worked well with the Flint Hills Regional Council. The other map covered only Manhattan, Ogden, Riley County and parts of Pottawatomie County.

But the choice came with a few caveats. Commissioners said that if the wider map was chosen, all areas should pay in and participate.

“If we go with the 4a map, then Geary County and Junction City would have to   participate,” Commissioner Dave Lewis said.

The other concern is who would have to pay for the portion of Fort Riley that falls into Riley County.

In the original maps drawn for the MPO, each county would pay fees depending on their population. In the original concept, Riley County’s population included Manhattan and any part of Fort Riley that fell into Riley County. 

The commission was against this plan because they would not be able to fix any problems that would arise in that portion of the county.

Planning and Development Director Monty Wedel said that the city did consider this problem and he believes that in the new write-up Riley County will more than likely not include Fort Riley’s population but may absorb Ogden’s population.

The discussion for the approval of one of the two maps comes after Manhattan Mayor Loren Pepperd asked the commission to choose the map that they would like to support.

More discussion on the maps and the MPO will take place at the city/county meeting this afternoon.

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