City Commission alerted to potential for increased sewer repair costs downtown Featured

Developer Cory Haag (far left) discusses parking concerns regarding potential developments in the 10 block of West Sixth during Wednesday's Emporia City Commission meeting. Also pictured are (from left) City Clerk Kerry Sull, City Attorney Christina Montgomery, Assistant City Manager Lane Massey and City Manager Mark McAnarney. Developer Cory Haag (far left) discusses parking concerns regarding potential developments in the 10 block of West Sixth during Wednesday's Emporia City Commission meeting. Also pictured are (from left) City Clerk Kerry Sull, City Attorney Christina Montgomery, Assistant City Manager Lane Massey and City Manager Mark McAnarney. Chuck Samples/KVOE News

From downtown infrastructure to redevelopment to vacant lot policy, Emporia city commissioners had a lot on their agenda for Wednesday's study meeting.


Commissioners had extensive discussion about sewer relining downtown. Public Works Director Frank Abart tells KVOE News the city may have to spend more money than it thought to renovate aging pipes downtown.

The research followed application by the city for a $700,000 Community Development Block Grant. Abart says a lot of the downtown sewer lines are at least 90 years old, and the city has been working for several years with Insituform to install a polymer substance re-lining sewer pipes to extend the life and efficiency of the network across town. Abart says the new research indicates it could be an extra $300,000 or more to make the needed upgrades, so the city will look to utilize the state revolving loan fund to help offset costs.

Later, commissioners discussed a fiscal sustainability plan for major renovations to the Waste Water Treatment facility in south Emporia. The document is required because the city is using state loan money to help pay for the improvements.

Commissioners also reviewed the proposed memorandum of understanding with Haag Enterprises for the recently-announced Citizens National Bank renovations and new Preston Plaza project in the 10 block of West Sixth. One of the big community concerns has been parking, but developer Cory Haag says there are a lot more open spaces downtown than one might think.

Commissioners also briefly discussed the overall future of city-owned vacant lots, and Commissioner Rob Gilligan once again suggested the development of a so-called "land bank" board that could help the city both set policy and dispose of vacant lots. City Attorney Christina Montgomery says drafting the ordinance should not be an issue, but commissioners agree they will likely spend a lot more time setting the committee's parameters if this effort starts moving forward. The city is considering a so-called "Land Rush," where people interested in buying city-owned property can submit an application, purchase a lot and build out their plan within two years of the purchase date and then get a full refund on the lot payment.

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