Bids were received this week for the Centennial Park ballfield Improvements. All bids were over the estimate and budget. The City of Newton Public Building Commission (PBC) met this morning (7/16) and after reviewing all bids, options, and add/alternates, rejected all bids. We plan to rebid later this year or next spring and will keep the Governing Bodies of the PBC membership (City Commission, Newton Recreation Commission, and School Board) apprised.
The Taxiway E Reconstruction project at the Newton City/County Airport is projected to have all concrete pours for Phase 2A completed by July 31.
Historic Preservation Commission
The HPC met last night (7/15) and reviewed two downtown historic properties for interior and exterior rehabilitation. Both applications were approved with minimal conditions and adjustments. The HPC and staff are happy to assist in continued efforts to revitalize downtown Newton and applauded the applicants for their investment in the community.
With the low local rates of COVID-19, Fire/EMS was able to get out do some public education this past week. Our team provided extinguisher training to about 30 employees of one of our local manufacturing firms. During this event, participants watched a short video, which was then followed by a “hands on” segment where they applied the knowledge. We also had the privilege of having a presence at the Sand Creek Summer Daze Festival where Fire Marshal Andy Harder and Station 1 crew provided fire extinguisher training to about 25 willing and eager citizens. Using our grant-funded Bullex extinguisher prop, participants were able to use water-pressure extinguishers to extinguish an actual fire. It’s nice to be able to get back out and provide community risk reduction opportunities to our citizens!
Also this week, we had the honor of having NPD Animal Control Officer Lyndsey Robinette provide training to our Fire/EMS members on animal control considerations for emergency services. In this training, ACO Robinette provided knowledge and techniques on how to interact and possibly mitigate animals we encounter in the course of our daily business as well as some first aid tips and tricks for animals. ACO Robinette even brought her own dogs to facilitate hands-on practice of the knowledge and skills shared. During one of the training sessions, we had a surprise raccoon visitor. It appeared to be just another day at the office for ACO Robinette as she calmly and very efficiently managed the situation by restraining the raccoon and escorted him out of the building. Thank you, ACO Robinette!
Unfortunately, we are seeing a nationwide increase in violence toward Fire/EMS personnel. Professional journals and news media have regular reports of first responders being killed in the line of duty by violent offenders. Today, thanks to a Department of Homeland Security grant, our members are better protected. Fire/EMS was the recipient of 12 sets of body armor that our members can utilize when responding to potentially violent situations. While our LEO brothers and sisters do a great job covering our “6” on calls, the addition of this body armor will add another layer of protection for our team while they provide the care and services that our citizens deserve and expect.
Municipal Swimming Pool
As announced last week, the tentative grand opening for the new municipal swimming pool has been rescheduled for Friday, August 6. The Newton Recreation Commission (NRC) is evaluating how they will open the facility and for how long in light of a lifeguard shortage.
Parks & Public Works Projects
Park Maintenance mowed slopes between Old Main and Brookside on Slate Creek and around the Wastewater Treatment Plant with a new remote-controlled track mower. This equipment allows for mowing on steep grades without putting staff in danger of tipping over. We love when new technology keeps our team safe and efficient!
Staff also completed the annual mowing at Spring Lake Park around the ponds this week.
Public Works staff completed the citywide limb pickup from the June 25th storms this week.
Street maintenance staff were able to complete three streets on the slurry list this week between rain events, and the annual overlay project completed milling and overlay on the following streets: 11th Street from Main to Pine; 10th Street from Main to Oak; and Oak from 8th to 11thStreets. Next week the contractor will begin milling on 8th Street from Ash to Pine and Oak from 8th to 5th. Overlay of those streets will likely begin the week of July 26.
The SE 14th Street storm sewer replacement is nearing completion with all pipe work complete by the end of today (7/16). Paving and project cleanup will occur next week as weather allows.
The Storm Water Consortium, consisting of 21 cities in Kansas (including Newton) met at the Meridian Center this week to discuss compliance with the city MS4 Stormwater NPDES Permits. KDHE is performing audits on these programs in several cities in the group.
Utility Maintenance staff worked several water main leaks this week and performed a difficult repair where 14 feet of line was pieced in on W. 11th Street from Main to Poplar. Our team also collected our first round of stormwater samples for this sampling period of the City Stormwater Permit. They continued taking sampling along Sand Creek to monitor dissolved oxygen levels in light of the fish kill last week. Levels are going back up as anticipated. Staff remains confident this was due to a turnover in the water from the June 25 storm event and the big temperature fluctuations. Ponds are known to do this on occasion as well.
Sand Creek Station Golf Course
The First Tee is officially live at Sand Creek Station and accepting applications! First Tee is an international program to introduce the game of golf and its inherent values to kids and teens. The start date for the program looks to be sometime in mid to late August. We are very excited for this program to be available to youth in Newton and Harvey County!
Per the action of the Commission Tuesday evening, the 2022 budget public hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, August 24. We will hold at least one, if not more work sessions, in advance of that date. Stay tuned for the scheduled date(s).
- 7:30 am July 22 – City Commission agenda review
- 7 pm July 27 – City Commission meeting
- 7:30 am Aug. 5 – City Commission agenda review
- 7 pm Aug. 10 – City Commission meeting
- 7:30 am Aug. 19 – City Commission agenda review
- 7 pm Aug. 24 – City Commission meeting
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