Work continues on airport, housing projects

Airport and housing projects continue to move forward. The county could consider creating a land bank to manage and repurpose some types of properties, along with a housing survey that will be mailed soon.

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March 17, 2021 - 9:50 AM

During his weekly report, public works director Mitch Garner noted that several low water bridges in Allen County had been flooded following heavy rains. Pictured is Hawaii Road, from the east side of Coal Creek. Courtesy photo

Local airport and housing projects continue moving forward, Jonathan Goering told Allen County commissioners Tuesday.

Goering, economic development director for Thrive Allen County, said the process is underway to collect bids for the airport’s utility expansion study. The deadline for bids is April 2.

After working with airport engineers, the airport project’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is also moving forward.

Goering said the Federal Aviation Administration was “good with what we had” regarding plans, which bodes well for the project’s outcome.

Goering also spoke with commissioners about the prospect of creating a county-based land bank, and mentioned that residents should be on the lookout for a housing survey that will be mailed soon. Land banks are quasi-governmental entities created to effectively manage and repurpose underused, abandoned, or foreclosed properties. 

“Housing has come up more and more,” echoed commissioner Jerry Daniels. “We’ve got more jobs than houses.”

Both a land bank and housing study, should work toward helping to solve that issue.

Public works director Mitch Garner said recent rainfall had been causing washouts and other road problems.

Crews have been working extra to ensure that conditions around the county are conducive to safe driving.

Regarding safety, Garner also mentioned that some flooding had taken place across the county, and was especially noticeable on rural low water crossings.

He said that, as of Tuesday morning, there were still as many as 10 crossings that were impassable.

Although Garner said the effects from weather “weren’t as bad as we thought they’d be,” he noted that county crews still never attempt to cross flooded roadways and emphatically encouraged others to do the same.

In other news, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will once again be placing their pinwheels on the square.

The pinwheels are part of an effort to bring attention to child abuse and prevention. Last year’s campaign was canceled due to COVID-19.

Undersheriff Roy Smith said that the roof had again been leaking on the north side of their offices, and though the problem had been temporarily fixed, everyone agreed that the building was “starting to show some wear and tear.”

Commissioners provided a letter of support for Humanity House, so that the nonprofit might pursue a new grant from the Health Forward Foundation.

And commissioners appointed Jen Taylor as the Southeast Kansas Library System representative, following a recommendation from director Roger Carswell.

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