Amidst the scramble of filing for reelection, the Greensburg City Council gave final approval Tuesday night to the first of two phases of the community master plan for rebuilding, first presented to them the previous Wednesday.


   Amidst the scramble of filing for reelection, the Greensburg City Council gave final approval Tuesday night to the first of two phases of the community master plan for rebuilding, first presented to them the previous Wednesday. 
   The plan has been a work in progress since renowned planner John Picard and the “dream team” of consultants presented their vision of a new Greensburg as a cutting edge “green” community last fall.  Compiled by BNIM Architects, the plan now serves as the town’s blueprint for rebuilding, the council voting unanimously to adopt the plan as City Ordinance 946. 
   The council also passed a motion to authorize an $83,560 payment for consulting fees to BNIM and the cooperating architectural firm of MVP for their work in implementing the city’s decision to incorporate a LEED Platinum standard into the master plan.
Crowded field of candidates…
   Fifteen residents have filed for the five positions on the city council, while four filed as candidates for mayor.  The crowded field means a primary runoff on February 26 to narrow the field to ten candidates for council and two for mayor.  The general election is April 1. 
     Those filing by last Tuesday’s deadline for the position of mayor include incumbent John Janssen, former postmaster Bob Dixson, Bill Odle, and former county appraiser John Colclazier. 
     Filing for city council were Erica Goodman, Carmen Renfro, Bill Odle, Matt Christianson, Carolyn Irvin, Lana Janssen, former mayor Stan Adolph, Bob Brozek, John Colclazier, Jason West, Gary Trummel, and incumbents Gary Goodheart, Bethel Thronesbery, Bob Mitchum and Brandon Hosheit. Rex Butler did not file for reelection.
Available cash nearly $6 million…
Steve Hewitt reported that the city’s cash summary did not include over $800,000 in insurance proceeds which are yet to arrive, and another $877,000 in forgivable FEMA Disaster Loan assistance will appear in the cash summary in the near future.  Current cash is at an approximate level of $5.8 million.
Marketing Greensburg…
   Nye and Associates presented a proposal for a marketing plan for the City to encourage economic development.  An earlier meeting was held between Nye representatives, Greensburg native and Wichita restaurateur Larry Burke and Mayor Janssen to discuss what types of marketing activities might be appropriate.  
   Nye has similarly consulted in the past with the mayor of Pierce City, Missouri, a town which also suffered tornado damage in recent years.  Nye suggested to the council they can provide services to the city designed to: 1.  Create influence; 2. Build a ‘ brand’ ; 3. Build positive media relations;  4. Promote the community; and that those services could include strategic planning, media relations, and community relations. 
    They suggested the story of the “Great Greensburg Comeback” needs to be told, through 1. A new ‘logo’ emphasizing the ‘green-ness’ of the new town,  in a distinctive mark; 2. An extensive public relations program; 3. A website update, making the current site a. friendlier; b. expressive of the positives of economic development; c. a source of stories and videos of Greensburg residents and their dedication to the community and the rebuilding effort; d. a direct mail campaign, targeting businesses and employers that the community wants to see come to Greensburg; e.  a site-selection advertising campaign, including a brochure and a DVD encouraging new businesses to consider Greensburg as a location for their business. 
   Currently working with Emporia on a similar program, Nye indicated that the process could begin very soon to gather inputs for creation of the program within 90 days.  Mayor Janssen suggested Nye provide a proposed contract for the city attorney to review, while City Administrator Steve Hewitt suggested that John Picard and BNIM be involved in the process to help coordinate the efforts and prevent duplication or overlap between the efforts of the two groups.
KCMH plans proceed…
   In regard to progress on development of plans for the new Kiowa County Memorial Hospital, hospital administrator Mary Sweet reported an environmental study and soil study of the new site have already been completed, and drainage issues are being considered by MKC.
    While the hospital is currently being designed to meet the LEED ‘silver’ specification, Sweet stated that a new LEED standards draft is being considered for hospitals, and that the new standards will be evaluated when they have been finalized to see if the hospital should upgrade its goal. 
    Sweet stated that $3.5 million needs to be raised for completion of the hospital, but she also pointed out that, according to a study done in 2004, 128 local jobs depended on healthcare at that time.
   Many employers have expressed concern that their employees need to be able to receive medical treatment in Greensburg according to Sweet, rather than having to travel long distances resulting in more lost time for appointments and care. 
Incubator plans nearly final…
   Craig Scranton of BNIM and Joe Steffes and Jeff Weiford of MVP were present to discuss the finalization of plans for the business incubator.  The building is to be built LEED ‘platinum’ per City regulation, this mandate necessitating some changes in the building design.
    Elevations were modified and the building orientation was changed to take advantage of sunlight and maximize water and energy efficiencies.  USDA is working closely with BNIM and MVP on the design.
   The building will be placed on the ‘zero-line’ setback so that it is in line with the existing rights-of-way, and will be built on seven 25-foot frontage lots.  Offsetting has been incorporated into the design to facilitate planting of native foliage and creation of three ‘rain gardens’ and a retention pond. 
   The lower level retail space as currently designed will include a restaurant/deli and outdoor seating spaces. 
   Site furniture, including tables, chairs, and bicycle racks will contribute to the platinum certification.  There will be three parking spaces behind the facility, with two designated for carpool/vanpool use and one for a low emissions/fuel efficient vehicle. 
   There will also be a masonry enclosure for a ‘dual-dumpster’ which will have one section for waste and another for onsite sorting of recyclables.  Rainwater will be captured from roof runoff and directed to a cistern system for reuse as “gray water” for watering of outdoor foliage and water supply for sanitary use. 
   All concrete in the building will be design-specified for solar reflectance.  The incubator will have 9,200-9,300 square feet, and the portion closest to the corner will be a two-story design.  The lower level is expected to have five retail spaces, including a restaurant/deli, and stairs/lift to the second floor.
    On the second floor will be located service-type businesses, grouped so they can utilize a common reception area.   The second floor will also include a conference room to be utilized for educational purposes after normal business hours. 
   The exterior walls of the building will be highly insulated, and the roofs designed to maximize usage of sunlight for interior lighting.  The current concept also utilizes windmills on the roof of the second story to emphasize use of wind power in the new town.  Windows will be primarily on the north and south sides, and minimal windows on the east and west, where heat gain is harder to control.
   The design team proposed that a ‘mass grading package’ be put out for a two-week bidding process by the end of January, so the preliminary site work can commence simultaneously with completion of the design.  The grading work would take approximately four to six weeks, depending on the weather.
    Bids for construction of the building would be accepted starting the end of February, and this process would last for four weeks.  Construction of the building is slated to begin the first half of April. 
   The budget for the building, including land, mass grading, and survey, fees, A &E, and equipment contingencies is $2,762,000.  Of that amount, $2 million will be included in a USDA grant, and $75,000 for the grading of the site will be funded by the South Central Kansas Community Foundation.  The remaining ‘gap’ of $687,000 is expected to be funded by a number of corporate sponsors. 
   Hewitt stated that the City’s goal is to have the building ready for occupancy by late summer or early fall of 2008, but progress toward that goal will depend on funding.  The design group told the council the building will “absolutely” be ready to occupy by the end of 2008.  The council voted unanimously to proceed with the site plan grading.
Community meeting, celebrities part of fair…
    The Resource Fair scheduled to take place on February 5-6 will be climaxed by a town meeting on the evening of February 6 at the school gymnasium.  The fair will start in Pratt on the morning of February 5, and after lunch, the fair will include a tour of Greensburg. 
   The event will resume on February 6, with projects to be presented at the community meeting that evening.  A number of ‘celebrities’ are expected to be in attendance at the community meeting. 
   State head of USDA Chuck Banks encouraged people to ‘spread the word’ on the resource fair, and encouraged sources willing to contribute cash, corporate ‘in-kind’ donations, or volunteer labor to register ahead of time.
   In other matters…
 nThe council voted to approve an engineering contract with PEC for the rebuilding of Main Street, to include tearing out current pavement, preparation of the roadbed, and paving.  Hewitt stated the City intends to coordinate the street rebuild with the construction of the incubator so that heavy equipment damage to the new road would be minimized.
nThe council approved a contract with Kennedy & McKee to perform an audit of the 2007 fiscal year.
nCouncil approved Hewitt’s recommendation the City approve IBC 2006 building codes for commercial construction.  Hewitt argued for the move, saying the newer codes are generally perceived as more ‘contractor friendly’, especially when adopted with amendments to the codes previously assumed by Sedgwick County and a number of smaller communities near Wichita.  The residential building codes will remain at IRC 2003 standards.
nCouncil was advised the City has been utilizing the County meeting room at least half of the time it’s in use, and that the utilities for the area are averaging about $600 per month.  The council agreed to be responsible for one-half the utilities for the meeting room building.
nCouncil approved funding Hewitt’s trip to Washington D.C. to attend the State of the Union Address by President Bush.  The City will pay for room, board, and travel for Hewitt.
nCouncil approved a land acquisition and disposition policy on advice of the city attorney, which would require public notice, solicitation of offers, a finding that a property was ‘not needed’ by the city, and certain procedural steps to sell property valued at more than $50,000.
nJanssen reported that discussions between the Twilight Theatre board and USD 422 Superintendent Darin Headrick may result in sharing of the theater by the school district to avoid the expense of building a new auditorium to replace the 1937 auditorium destroyed by the storm.
nChuck Banks of USDA congratulated the city council on adoption of the master plan, and on finalizing plans for the business incubator.  He then discussed Community Self-Help Housing, and he and Tim Rogers discussed the programs USDA is coordinating with Mennonite Housing and Habitat for Humanity for affordable housing in Greensburg.
nThe Mennonite Housing-built homes will be 1,100 square feet in size, with a full basement and a two-car garage,  high-energy efficiency, two or three bedrooms upstairs.  The construction cost is estimated to be $100,000 excluding core volunteer labor.  The goal is to construct these homes and be able to offer them with a $65,000 or lower mortgage to eligible participants.
   The initial project consists of construction of 20 homes, in two groups of ten.  Four to five commitments have already been made by residents who are interested in participating in the program, and as soon as a total of ten commitments have been made, construction on the first ten homes will begin, hopefully in March. 
   Doug Bruggeman, construction manager of Mennonite Housing, told the council that he is starting a model home on three lots next month, but that the standard size of the land needed for construction is two lots.  Interested persons should contact Byron Adrian at 316-942-4848 to inquire about direct and guaranteed loan programs.
nThe Habitat for Humanity homes will be 950 square feet, built on a concrete slab with no basement, will not have a garage, but will have a storage shed and a storm shelter or safe room.  The construction cost is estimated to be $70,000 and the goal is to make these homes available with a mortgage of $40,000-45,000 to participants who do not qualify for the Mennonite Housing-built homes. 
   Habitat for Humanity rules dictate the size of the homes and the type of occupancy which will qualify for purchase of a home.  Hewitt suggested that the City consider purchase of lots for a “lot bank” for sale to residential purchasers looking for a lot to build on, since building lots are becoming difficult to locate for these programs.
nBanks reminded the council that the $25,000 “soft second” grant is available to residents wishing to build a new home in Greensburg.  The grant is structured as a “soft second” mortgage, meaning that it is forgiven on a pro-rata basis over the life of the ‘mortgage’, and is completely forgiven after ten years.  The income limit to qualify is $76,000—78,000 for a family of four.  Councilman Hosheit stated that some people had contacted him with concerns that this program was taking a long time to implement, and Hewitt stated that he would contact the Governor’s office to check on it.
nDaniel Wallach of Greensburg GreenTown announced that Ki and Kim Gamble have donated lots across from the Big Well for construction of the first of a dozen “GreenTown” demonstration homes to be built in the city.  These homes are to be built of environmentally friendly materials and construction methods, and will be designed to be on the ‘leading edge’ of energy efficiency.  Construction is expected to begin soon on the "Mother Earth News" model home on the donated lots.