Manhattan city commissioners on Tuesday gave the unofficial go-ahead to city administrators to create an ordinance addressing e-scooter usage within the city.

E-scooters are scooters that run on an electric motor.

Following a presentation by Jared Wasinger, assistant to the city manager, the commission discussed the pros and cons of permitting e-scooters in Manhattan.

“I’m actually pretty conflicted about this,” Commissioner Jerred McKee said. “I still think safety’s a big concern.”

Commissioners explored the possible addition of speed limits, requirement of wearing helmets and other measures to create a safer environment for both riders and pedestrians.

Moving forward, Commissioner Linda Morse urged city administrators to involve all partners, including Kansas State University and the Riley County Police Department, when drafting the ordinance and rules.

“I don’t want any surprises at the end,” Morse said.

Zoo contract

Commissioners rejected all proposed bid for construction of the Expedition Asia project at Sunset Zoo.

The commission instead opted for officials to negotiate a new contract with KBS Constructors of Topeka.

The company was one of two qualified bidders, but it had not submitted a bid on the second version of the project. Officials asked the company to bid on that version, and the commission accepted the architect’s estimate for the project, which comes in at $3.24 million. KBS Constructors’ original bid was $4.8 million.

The Sunset Zoo trust has raised $1.9 million of the money for the project. The balance would come from city sales tax money.

The Expedition Asia design proposes new exhibits for the Malayan tiger, Sloth bear and Amur leopard, an ADA walkway, overlook pavilion event space and viewing deck at the zoo.

“I’m comfortable with moving forward with new negotiations,” McKee said.