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Crown-C project put on back burner

By The Mercury

The Crown-C project east of Manhattan on U.S. Highway 24 has been shelved––at east temporarily.

Pottawatomie County commissioners Monday agreed to pay $16,579.19 in attorney fees and dismiss a lawsuit that would have condemned a strip of land belonging to the Manhattan Commission Co. to make way for the project.

The Crown-C project was a collaboration between Pott County and the Kansas Department of Transportation to provide easier access to businesses in the Crown-C area south of U.S. 24.

Commissioners nixed the project last week, however, after receiving updated cost projections.

Leu Lowrey, public works director, told commissioners the county’s 25 percent of the project would cost an estimated $325,000, due to right-of-way, relocation of signs and utility issues.

The original project estimate was $475,000, with KDOT paying 75 percent ($356,000) and the county, 25 percent ($119,000). After hearing the updated figures, commissioners decided the project had become too costly.

“That finishes up the lawsuit,” county counselor John Watt said Monday after commissioners approved payment of $16,579 to the Manhattan Commission Co. for attorney fees in the condemnation proceeding. Watt also delivered an order of dismissal of the condemnation to Pott County District Court.

Commissioners still believe something needs to be done to improve safety at the intersection, and authorized the county staff to work with KDOT to determine whether the scope of the project could be downsized.

In other business Monday:

• The commission approved an agreement for $6,930 with BG Consultants to design a bridge to replace a low-water crossing on Clear Creek Rd. near Wheaton, where the Topeka Shiner minnow is unable to get upstream under certain conditions.

The county received a grant for $48,000 from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the project, with the county to match $20,000 in labor and equipment to build the bridge.

The county may also be eligible to apply for reimbursement from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for engineering fees for the project, according to Lowrey.

• The commission welcomed third and fourth-graders from Westmoreland Elementary, who attended a portion of the commission meeting as part of their classroom study of civics and government.

• A public hearing was held for street, sewer and water improvements for Elbo Creek Estates, Unit III. Following the hearing, the commission adopted resolutions creating improvement districts for street improvements at $464,329; sewer, $151,160; and water, $119,596.

• Scott Schwinn, sanitarian/landfill director, said he anticipated a smaller turnout for this Saturday’s Free Day at the Pott County Landfill due to the 11 a.m. starting time of the KSU-KU football game at Manhattan.

Schwinn noted, however, that the communities of Westmoreland and Louisville are planning citywide cleanup days Saturday.

“We’re really going to watch the tire deal this year,” he said. “That just cost us too much money last year.”

There will be a limit of five passenger tires per household free of charge Saturday. Additional passenger tires, as well as truck and tractor tires, will be charged at a reduced rate.

• The commission approved a site plan for the Veterinary and Biomedical Research Center on lots 22-23, in Green Valley Business Park.

A warehouse is planned for the site, with the potential to construct an administrative building and three animal laboratory facilities in the future.

• The commission gave preliminary approval of a plat for development of Stonington Estates Unit 2, northwest of the intersection of Salzer Rd. and Sixth St. Rd., west of Wamego.

Since the proposed development is in the city’s extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction, the plat must first be approved by Wamego city commissioners before final approval by the county commission.

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