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Larned City Council Awards Downtown Streetscape Project to Brentwood Builders

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By Lucky Kidd

 

LARNED, Kan. — The Larned City Council has awarded the downtown streetscape project to the low bidder but will be looking at ways to bring the project back within available funds.

Brentwood Builders had the low bid on the project with a base bid of $1,369,680, and if all alternatives were to be included $1.871 million. However, the City has just one million dollars for the project, $750,000 from a BASE grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and $250,000 as a local match.

City Manager Brad Elits told the Council in awarding the contract it would be understood the contractor would work with the city to pare down the overall costs and extent of the improvements on time with the goal of overall and mutual community success.

At Monday’s meeting the Council agreed to consider financial participation in the state’s Rural Opportunity Zone program as part of the city’s 2025 budget. Council member Jason Murray asked that this item be placed on the agenda.

The program is designed to recruit workforce and population growth in rural Kansas counties through tax relief and student loan repayment assistance for eligible applicants. Kansas counties with populations Pawnee County has long participated in the program, and in January adopted a resolution indicating participation in it. 95 of Kansas’ 105 counties are eligible to be in it, though two never opted into it.

The Council approved sale of a small tract of land at 400 Broadway to B&W-Larned, which owns the adjacent building. The property, only 1,275 feet, came into the city’s possession after a street project at Broadway and Trail Streets.

The Council also continues discussions related to the Larned Dream Homes project, with Callie Miller from Housing Opportunities Inc. providing additional information on the process where the homes will be available to sale to eligible tenants after the first of 2025.

The city has a right of first refusal to purchase the property under the agreements under which the six homes were built, a process that is being worked on including defined financial considerations which will come before the Council at the future meeting.

A bid was awarded to Downey Drilling to drill a number of test water wells. The Council also discussed, at the request of Council President Kim Barnes, the potential of setting an irrigation water rate and changes in sales taxes on food, state taxation of which will soon come to an end. It also heard a presentation from the newly organized Larned Fire Auxiliary. 

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