The Hays City Commission approved a contract for water line improvements in an area of town that saw a major water leak in 2016.

The $136,887 contract with J Corp will include a new 8-inch waterline along Milner from 10th to 11th streets, consolidating water services to the APAC Ready Mix Concrete facility, 503 E. 10th, into one service, connecting several existing waterlines and abandoning others and installing five new fire hydrants.

There have been several water line breaks in that area in recent years, Jeff Crispin, director of water resources, told the commission, including one in July 2016 under the APAC facility.

“Due to the location of that line, it made it hard to find because it was in an industrial area,” Crispin said. “When we did find it, it was hard to shut down because there are old valves in that area.”

APAC is cooperating on the project, bearing the cost and responsibility to make the connections consolidating multiple lines into one line at its facility, Crispin said.

The project originally had been budgeted for $500,000 for brand-new lines for the entire area, but Bartlett and West Engineers was able to recommend the lower cost option, Crispin said.

J Corp submitted the lowest bid. APAC bid $169,922.70 and M&D Excavating bid $232,820. The commission approved the J Corp bid by a vote of 3-0; Vice Mayor Henry Schwaller and Commissioner Chris Dinkel were absent.

The work will begin around May 1 and take approximately 90 days to complete.

In other business at Thursday’s meeting the commission also approved the following:

• A $50,000 contract with Retail Strategies, Birmingham, Ala., to provide a retail gap analysis and recruitment.

• Rezoning of a tract of land south of 22nd Street and east of Commerce Parkway from agriculture to light industrial.

• A resolution setting a public hearing for April 26 for economic incentives for a proposed hotel and convention center west of Walmart.

• An application for cereal malt beverage license from Das Essen Hutte, 110 W. 11th.

The commission went into a 15-minute executive session with the city manager and city attorney, with Schwaller and Dinkel joining by conference call, to discuss acquisition of real estate. No action was taken afterwards.