Purchase photos

Hays dog park concept advances





The Hays City Commission cleared the way for Friends of the Hays Dog Park to move a dog park project forward in phases when it passed a favorable resolution, 3-1, Thursday night.

Commissioner concerns surfaced during a previous work session that the commission later might be approached by FHDP to assist in funding the park should the organization fail to raise the funds. Those concerns prompted addition of a special provision to the resolution.

City attorney John Bird told commissioners the resolution allows for the first phase of the park, a 1.5-acre section, to be constructed after the cost of approximately $33,000 for that phase is collected. Bids then must be submitted to the commission for approval.

"It does provide that if they do not comply with those requirements, then they'll forfeit their right to complete the project," Bird said speaking of FHDP. "The city in no event will make any monetary contributions toward construction of the project except those involved in providing the site and the staff involved."

Commissioner Ron Mellick thanked Bird for drafting the resolution.

"I thought you did a good job on this and I really wanted to see this so that future commissions, if something would come back, that they would know exactly what the commission was thinking at this time when we permitted it to go in phases," Mellick said.

Although Mayor Kent Steward voted against the resolution for reasons he said he had expressed at a previous work session, he said he would honor the decision of the commission and not continue to vote against future dog park measures.

Steward had voted against moving forward with drafting a resolution during the April 27 commission meeting because he said the phased approach to the dog park was not the original plan presented to the commission.

In June, the commission set aside a 6-acre tract of land east of the maintenance building at Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex, designating approximately 1 acre for small dogs and 5 acres for large dogs. The commission allowed FHDP two years to begin construction on the park.

"It wasn't me and it wasn't the rest of the commission that said what Hays needs is a 6.5-acre dog park divided into two sections," Steward said. "Now you're back here telling us something completely different."

Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV was absent.

In other business, commissioners:

* Voted to accept the low bid for a snowblower for Hays Regional Airport from Kodiak American LLC for $75,300. They also voted to authorize staff to submit an application for federal assistance for 90 percent of the eligible costs of the snowblower.

* Approved a bid from Utility Solutions LLC for storm sewer lining at a cost of $175,735. The project will continue city efforts of the past two years and line 1,459 linear feet of corrugated metal storm sewer pipe with a spin-cast cement product.

* Voted to amend an ordinance removing school zone signage from areas that no longer have active schools at 14th and Fort and 27th and Canterbury.

* Scheduled a public hearing for June 13 for retirement of Via Christi health care facility revenue bonds.