Pratt County Commission: New sign, no big doors and bypass project top agenda items

Michael W. Blackford
Pratt Tribune
A new digital sign flashes community health information from the front of the Pratt County Health Department. It was put in place earlier this week, made possible by grant money.

The Pratt County Health Department has a new sign flashing digital messages for the community at the department location on S. Main Street of Pratt, according to information shared at the October 11 Pratt County Commission meeting.

"We can now advertise for food pickup when commodities are dropped off in the county and other things," said Darcie Van Der Vyver, health department director.

Van Der Vyver was given credit for finding grant money to pay for the new sign. Another grant that was just awarded will allow the purchase of a bicycle maintenance station

County commission chairman Rick Shriver reported that a snag has arisen in the construction of the Pratt County Public Safety Building east of town.

"The overhead doors have not been received yet and are not expected until possibly February," Shriver said. "They may be in a container off the coast of California."

Shriver said this is a problem because the interior work at the complex needs to be in an enclosed building to control the climate. The contractors are formulating a plan ‘b’ so they can continue moving forward, he said.

County consultant Heather Morgan reported that there is state grant money now available for local daycares to cover additional costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morgan also brought information from the KDOT local consultant meeting she attended last week. She said that Pratt County is in KDOT District 5, which includes Wichita. District 5 has 26% of the states population, but is only receiving 17% of the KDOT project money statewide. A lot of that money is going to projects in the Wichita metro area, which leaves not a lot for rural area projects.

"The projects receive points for meeting participation and comments submitted to KDOT," Morgan said.

Morgan is crafting comments for each of the commissioners to submit to help raise the score for Pratt County projects on K61 and US54. The K61 project is for improving and widening the shoulder along most of the distance to the east of Pratt. The US54 project is to add a passing lane close to the west border of the county and for a bypass around the city.

Jason Winkel, director of landfill and recycling, reported to county commissioners that after receiving the scrapper back from the shop it had to go back in.

"It looks good, but it won’t pick up dirt," Winkel said.

On another subject, Winkel said he is happy about recycling prices right now because they are up and people are bringing more in to recycle.

There will be no county commission meeting next week. All three commissioners are attending the Kansas Association of Counties Conference in Overland Park and will be unavailable. The next Pratt County Commission meeting will be in two weeks on October 25.