Eureka City Council Held Public Hearing
Before the start of their regularly scheduled meeting last Monday, July 13, Eureka City council members held a public hearing regarding the property located at 111 N. St. Nicholas Street. At a previous meeting, council members conceded to moving forward with the necessary legal procedures to have the structure condemned. As the council opened the floor for public comments, Wichita resident Charlie Peeples, whose mother owns the property in question, requested a four-month extension, to provide him time to improve conditions. It was then noted that when Peeples appeared before the City Council last year, he was then afforded the opportunity to clean up the property and improve the structure, but no progress was made. Peeples noted having sanded the exterior of the structure in preparations for applying paint. He then noted that working six days a week has impacted the process of making improvements. When asked what his plans for the property were, Peeples stated that his mother’s lease on her rental in Texas ends in February of 2021. He told council members that she intends to move back to Eureka at that time. Peeples then noted that he has been working to get the house ready for her, then describing efforts made on the interior of the home. Peeples told the council that he had previously hired someone to remove trash from the property, but the individual never showed up to complete the job. As discussion carried on regarding the duration of Peoples’ extension, Councilman Marcus Johnson stated that he commended Peeples for taking care of his mother and for driving from Wichita to attend the meeting. After members of the council conveyed that they were not supportive of affording a four-month extension, noting that he was already given a year, City Administrator’s Assistant Karen Simon told the council that if they were to pass the resolution that was already drafted, Peeples would have 30 days to rehabilitate the property or it would be condemned. Councilman Mark Kennedy told Peeples that the city would need to see significant progress within the allotted time frame. Council members approved Resolution 20-06 deeming the structure unfit for human use of habitation. Peeples will have 30 days to improve the conditions of the property.
Mayor Stephen Coulter told council members that applications had been received for the vacant management position at the Lt. Millikan Airport. During the spring, following a recommendation made by the Airport Board, City council members moved to terminate manager Larry Dutton. City administrator Ian Martell noted that he was looking to seek more applicants by reaching out to the aviation school in Manhattan for qualified applicants. It was then noted that the two applications received thus far were from individuals with experience working on jets. Council members noted the importance of finding the right applicant to fill the position. Dutton will be vacating the position in August. When Councilman Darren Rundell expressed disinterest in leaving the airport without a manager for very long, Martell spoke in favor of not allowing the new manager to overlap with the current manager. Martell stated that he did not want the new manager to develop bad habits as a result of such an overlap.
Mayor Coulter referenced the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) taskforce funding. After referencing the County Commission’s discussion with USD 386 Superintendent Stu Moeckel regarding the possible applications for grant funding, Coulter stated that the City should look into providing high speed internet connectivity to residents. He noted this would be an asset for local businesses and for students, particularly in the event off campus learning is necessitated once again. Councilman Kennedy noted that the City had attempted to provide citizens with such connectivity in the past. Grant money was attained and distributed to a company that then proceeded to conduct a study in an effort to provide high speed internet. The study was conducted by the company, but they never returned. According to Kennedy, they took the funding and left. Coulter expressed his intent on discussing the subject with Madison Mayor Paul Dean.
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