Reconstruction of Ash, Elm and Fourth streets in the neighborhood of Lewis Field Stadium won’t interfere with football season at Fort Hays State University.

City Project Manager John Braun told Hays City Commissioners on Thursday evening at their regular work session at City Hall that Fourth Street likely will  be the last portion of the project. City Commissioner Sandy Jacobs mentioned that people going to Fort Hays football games at Lewis Field like to park on Fourth Street.

“We get into football season,” said Jacobs. “We might just think that through, that’s one of the parking areas.”

“Yes, it’s a major connector,” agreed Mayor Henry Schwaller IV.

“We can coordinate with Fort Hays on that, and with the contractor,” Braun said.

Bids for the street project were opened March 19 and low bidder was Morgan Brothers Construction Inc., La Crosse, for $1.333 million, he said. The commissioners will decide whether to approve the bid at their regular meeting Thursday, April 11.

Construction would start in May, with tree removal and waterline, and wrap up in 180 days, Braun said. Once school is over, work on Elm Street would begin and finish up by Aug. 20 before school starts back up at Fort Hays.

A public information session is set for April 23, and Braun said all the property owners have been notified. He said he’s talked to about half of them.

Elm Street, considered a major collector, is traveled by about 1,700 to 2,900 vehicles a day, Braun said.

Part of the city’s capital improvement project, plans call to replace pavement and failed curb and gutter over 3,100 lineal feet, as well as replace old four-inch water line on Ash Street with a new, bigger eight-inch one.

Angled parking will also be added on Elm Street, as requested by Fort Hays, which will reimburse the city $29,992 for the cost.

While Elm will be shut down completely, Braun said a concrete alley that lines up with the parking lots of the Comeau Catholic Campus Center and the United Methodist Student Center will remain open to allow access in and out.

The Hays City Commission meets for its next regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 1507 Main St.

In other business at the work session:

- All five commissioners indicated they’re ready at their next meeting to approve the proposed Blue Sky Acres Addition, delayed for a couple years by a lawsuit with Ellis County over water availability and possible drainage issues.

A new Ellis County Commission ultimately approved the development in March. The addition, 2.5 miles south of Hays on U.S. Highway 183, proposes six lots about 2.5 to 3 acres each. It’s adjacent to the VonFeldt Addition, which includes seven homes platted in the 1970s. Access to Blue Sky Acres will be via U.S. 183 but roads in the development are the developer’s responsibility, said director of Public Works Jesse Rohr, who made the presentation.

• Also for consideration at their next meeting is a rezoning request for land at the intersection of 22nd Street and Wheatland Avenue. While largely a medium density residential area, land adjacent to the lot, and across the street from it, is already zoned commercial, said Rohr. Previously in 2019, the City Commission approved rezoning it to commercial, but the property owners have since decided they need more area to facilitate their project, said Rohr, who presented the project. City staff has recommended the rezoning.

•  The commissioners heard Director of Parks Jeff Boyle explain bids for new mowers for the Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course, which generally puts from 300 to 500 hours on its mowers each year.

Golf course staff are recommending two smaller, more nimble mowers with a wet clutch, and with a deck that bends and flexes, driven by a power take off, Boyle said. The mowers are less expensive than buying one larger mower, he said, allowing the city to buy two for the price of one for $62,198, including a trade-in. The mowers are made in Beatrice, Nebr., Boyle said.

•  The City Commission went into 15-minute executive session to talk about the potential acquisition of real estate, but took no action afterward.