By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays City Commission gave the go ahead Thursday night for Fort Hays State University to paint a new design on the water tower just south of Interstate 70.
The design would include the university logo on the east side of the tower with the message "Welcome to Hays, Home of Fort Hays State University."
The west side of the tower would have the Sternberg Museum of Natural History logo and name on it with the message "Next Exit."
"My logic is when you are coming from the east heading west on I-70, there are plenty of directions to the Sternberg Museum to get off on Commerce Parkway," Scott Cason, FHSU chief communications officer, said, "but there is nothing big and bold that welcomes you to Hays and really speaks to the partnership between the university and the city."
Cason said drivers from the west are likely to miss the museum because of lack of signage.
The work would be the result of an existing agreement with the city and would be completed by the college at no cost to the city.
The 1 million-gallon water tower was repainted in summer 2018. It has remained white since then. The city considered adding a city mural to the tower but the commission opted not to move forward with the project.
The tower before the most recent painting only displayed the Sternberg logo.
Lights were added to the tower when it was painted. Officials estimate the coating on the tower will last about 25 years.
230th Ave. and 55th St.
In its work session, the city commission also heard a report on a $1.5 million grant for improvements to 230th Avenue and 55th Street.
The KDOT grant provides $1.5 million to offset the cost of construction.
Because KDOT funds are involved, it is necessary for the City of Hays to manage the project.
D&J Land and Development will pay for all of the engineering and design and construction inspection engineering costs for the project. The developer will also be responsible for any construction costs if they exceed the $1.5 million.
The city’s role in this project is only management and oversight.
Vine Street roundabout bonds
The city heard from Kim Rupp, city finance director, who said the city will need to approve a resolution at its next meeting stating its intent to issue general obligation bonds for the Vine Street roundabout project.
The city will provide an estimated $7.1 million toward the financing of the project.
The city plans to initially pay such costs with available funds from the capital projects fund and will later be reimbursed with proceeds of general obligation bonds, which are expected to be issued in late 2020 or early 2021.
Termination of Home Depot TDD
The costs associated with the Home Depot transportation development district have been met, which means the district and the 3/4 cent sales tax associated with it can be terminated, Rupp told the commissioners.
Commissioner Ron Mellick asked if funds from the district could be used to repair streets and sidewalks in the district. He expressed concerns about the intersection of 43rd and Sherman.
City Manager Toby Dougherty said they could be used either as part of the maintenance district or as funds that will be now captured in the general fund.
The district includes Home Depot, IHOP, JT Travel Plaza, Towneplace Suites and the Hampton Inn.