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Hutchinson City Council Submits $1.2M Loan Application to KDHE for Waterline Replacement Project


By Lucky Kidd


HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Following a public hearing the Hutchinson City Council Tuesday authorized submission of a 1.2 million dollar loan application to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s State Revolving Loan Fund for a waterline replacement project.

The project involves replacement of just over 7.500 linear feet of six inch cast iron waterline in an area generally east of Plum and south of 17th. The lines to be replaced were installed between 1922 and 1961, and in that area there have been 62 line breaks recorded so far this year, and over 80 in each of the past couple of years.

A water line condition audit indicates the city needs to be looking at replacing three miles of waterline a year, or one percent of the system. The loan would be repaid over 20 years, at an interest rate of 60 percent of market rate.

The Council also agreed to adopt a resolution of support for a Moderate Income Housing Grant being sought for the restoration of the former Landmark Apartments at 5th and Main. This is the second attempt to obtain this grant on behalf of this project being spearheaded by Laura Meyer Dick. The plans include studio and two bedroom units that would be walkable to shopping and most downtown attractions and restaurants and appeal primarily to seniors and young professionals. Three similar projects in Hutchinson are fully occupied and have waiting lists. This would also address one of the most distressed properties in the downtown area.

The ongoing search for a new Hutchinson City Manager was brought up by City Council member Stuart Conklin at the end of the meeting Council comments. Conklin told the council their highest priority needs to be addressed should be job creation and population increase.

Conklin said it needs to be a top priority to make it easier for existing business to expand and new business to come to Hutchinson, along with addressing housing issues that he said ties into many other things, which he said need to be critical considerations in selection of a new city manager.

There’s work in progress on a plan to address traffic congestion at the intersection of 30th and Halstead. Vice-mayor Greg Fast brought this up and interim City Manager Mary Grace Clements gave an update on that project, which would add left turn signals on 30th. A pole replacement will be part of the process, but Clements noted while it’s been ordered, delivery of it will take between six and nine months. Signal techs are working on details for the project.

Clements in her report said she recently met with the project developer on the Hilton Garden Inn project at 17th and Waldron, who told her groundbreaking is currently scheduled for Oct. 30. She told the Council she wants the project to move forward quickly once that ground is broken.

The 212-bed hotel will include a convention center and Clements also announced that there will be an Old Chicago restaurant as part of it. She added she’s waiting on information from the Chamber of Commerce about it.