City flags

Starting at the top from left to right, Ring of Stars, Shining Star of the Prairie, Little Apple of the Prairie, Rolling Hills, Sunflower, Confluence, Heritage and the current flag. The public vote on the seven flag designs will end Sunday.

Almost 2,500 people have voted in the city flag contest, and the two finalists featuring apples in their designs have been neck and neck.

The Sunflower design (688 votes, 28% of the vote) is edging out the Little Apple on the Prairie design (664 votes, 27%) as of Friday morning, according to city officials. Vivienne Uccello, city public information officer, said she expects a lot more people to vote before the contest ends Sunday.

Uccello said the city had some backlash online questioning the need for a new city flag after the city announced the seven flag finalists, Uccello said she thinks that in comparing the amount of people who have voted in the contest versus the amount of people who spoken out against a new flag online, more people prefer a new flag.

She pointed out that a survey in July 2018 showed that 85% of city residents were in favor of a new flag.

Not many people even recognize the old flag, Uccello said.

“That was kind of part of the issue,” she said. “It wasn’t a meaningful symbol for the community, so we were hoping to ask the community to create something that could stand up and represent us together.”

In any case, Uccello said she will be sure to present the city commissioners with a comparison of the online feedback and participants in the contest before they vote on whether they’ll adopt a new flag at their Aug. 20 meeting.

Voting is open online at cityofmhk.com/flag through 5 p.m. Sunday, where you can see all seven finalists.

Summer street

construction

continues

Despite some spats of rainy weather, summer construction is charging full-steam ahead.

Traffic at 11th Street and Poyntz Avenue should soon normalize after weeks of construction, although 11th Street south of that intersection will still be closed for up to two months. Crews are installing traffic signals, and the intersection (with the exception of the south end) could be back to normal on July 24.

Construction at the intersection of Poyntz and Sunset avenues is now in its second phase, with crews now removing and replacing some of the roadway with a new, 7-inch base. With Manhattan High School at that intersection, the project should be done before school starts Aug. 14.

On the north end of town, traffic has been constricted with work on Kimball Avenue. The avenue is down to one-lane traffic each way between Seth Childs Boulevard and Kenmar, and that work continues through September. Between N. Manhattan Avenue and Tuttle Creek Boulevard, workers have completed the section between N. Manhattan and Ivy, and traffic will start to normalize the week of July 22.

North Manhattan Avenue from Baker’s Way to Research Drive just east of K-State is still closed while workers reduce the hill’s slope, widen the roadway, install a 10 feet-wide sidewalk and add streetscaping. The goal is to have the project done by the start of K-State classes on Aug. 26.

Over at Juliette Avenue, construction is now in its third phase on the section of the street between Osage and Poyntz. Utility work on sewer and water mains are nearly complete, and work should be complete by the start of district classes.

Roadway traffic at College and Dickens Avenue is slightly affected by work to install a new pedestrian signal. The intersection remains open during the project, but it won’t be complete until mid-August.

On the other end of town, pedestrian signals at Carlson Street and McCall Road are down after a lightning strike. The public works department does not yet have an estimate on when repairs might occur.

Back at K-State, work on a Campus Creek Road extension is nearly complete, and crews should have the work done by next week.

June sales tax

muddles along

Sales tax in June is up marginally from June 2018 at 1.02%.

The June report, which reflects April sales, shows the city collected $883,451 in sales tax revenue, which is an increase of $8,924 from $874,527 in June 2018.

Since the beginning of the year, the city has collected $5.5 million in sales tax, up $47,000 or 0.9% from $5.4 million through the same period in 2018.

June’s sales tax receipts were $23,000 underneath projections for the month. However, better-than-expected receipts in January this year have cushioned a few months of underperforming revenues, so the city is ahead of its year-to-date projections by $30,000.

The city and county governments are awaiting sales tax reports over the next few months, which will reflect the loss of sales tax revenue due to Country Stampede’s move to Topeka.

Board appointments

The Manhattan City Commission on July 2 made the following appointments:

  • Theo Stavropoulus, 1739 Kinds Road, was reappointed to a two-year at-large term on the city-university special projects funds committee. His appointment began immediately and runs through June 30, 2021.
  • Ansley Chua, 1000 Stratford Circle, was appointed to a three-year term on the special alcohol funds advisory committee. Her term began immediately and runs through June 30, 2022.
  • Jurdene Coleman, 4573 Sunflower Slope Drive, was reappointed to a three-year term on the same committee. Her term began immediately and ends June 30, 2022.

Education reporter for the Manhattan Mercury. Follow me on Twitter at @byRafaelGarcia.