Two items virtually guaranteed to generate public reaction will share attention at the Manhattan City Commission’s Tuesday work session.
Commissioners will review and comment on three designs for an expanded airport terminal, and they’ll also discuss ideas for changing local fireworks regulations. No formal action will be taken during their 5 p.m. meeting at City Hall.
The terminal expansion discussion is in response to what is described as “significant growth” in business related to American Eagle jet service to Dallas and Chicago. In June, commissioners authorized the Mead and Hunt engineering firm to prepare design proposals for a new terminal. Commissioners will look at three of those proposals Tuesday.
All of the proposals envision the expansion being conducted in four phases over more than a decade. All would involve demolition of much of the existing terminal with a significant expansion of terminal space. Costs of the three proposed terminals range from $1.63 million to $6.86 million, with some percentage of that amount expected to be paid by federal funds.
At a recent event at which the Airport Advisory Board and members of the public were given an opportunity to review the designs, one carrying a $2.81 million price tag appeared to be the favorite.
Commissioners will examine fireworks regulations following a season that saw a tripling in fireworks-related incidents from recent years, with a total fire loss of $375,550. That included the loss of a $340,000 home on the city’s west side. Police officials reported having received 165 fireworks complaints this year.
That fireworks fans are devoted is borne out in sales figures. The city issued 16 fireworks stand permits this year and last, most for fund-raising purposes, and those stands were reported to have generated $8,000 in licensing revenues. Although city officials do not yet have sales tax data for 2012, they noted that such stands generated about $246,000 in sales, translating to about $21,000 in sales tax revenue for the city government, in 2011.
It’s not clear precisely what changes commissioners may discuss to the present ordinance. Three cities — Leawood, Overland Park and Lawrence — prohibit their sale and use entirely, but in other locations fireworks sale and discharge regulations vary. Two cities, Wichita and Hutchinson, permit only those fireworks that do not rise or spread beyond six feet.
City officials said in a memo to commissioners that if the commission does not decide to ban the sale and/or discharge of fireworks, they will be asked to modify the current ordinance to give the city authority to do emergency bans in the event of hot, dry weather conditions similar to this year.