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Old Issues with New Angles at Hutchinson City Council Meeting May 7th


By Lucky Kidd


HUTCHINSON, Kan. — An old issue and new angles to it came back to the Hutchinson City Council Tuesday.

Several years ago, Lovella Kelly, who lives on Winesap Drive next to Orchard Park, complained about late night noise and other issues in the park. She had asked for an earlier closing time to be designated for the park, and at that time she was told they could not change hours at that park without changing them at all parks.

Since then, the city adopted an earlier closing hour for Avenue A Park, and that in her view changes things, Kelly saying there is no reason anyone should be in Orchard Park after 10 PM. She also suggested a speed limit reduction along 43rd near the park and the possibly installing gates to the park entrance to close it off after hours.

The Council suggested a committee of residents in the area be formed to make formal recommendations, such as what led to the change in hours for Avenue A Park.

Issues at Orchard Park were not the only concern in that part of Hutchinson brought to the Council. Chris Parrott, who lives near 43rd and Halstead, asked the council to give consideration to placing a four way stop at that intersection, which has seen more than its share of serious accidents. He noted there are already four way stops at Lorraine to the west and Old K-61 to the east, and cited differences between Lorraine and Halstead intersections, with the Halstead intersection having many more homes than at Lorraine, along with some sight distance issues.

City staff has been looking at this, and their engineering consultant JEO Group did a traffic study on that intersection which interim Assistant City Manager Gary Meagher (MEAGER) said came up with a recommendation to add stop ahead signs along Halstead ahead of the intersection and reflective markings around the edges of signage. Another idea that could be implemented is adding signs stating cross traffic on 43rd does not stop, similar to signs seen at some intersections.

One complication that comes into play here is that part of that intersection is outside the city limits, as is part of 43rd, which means Reno County would have to be involved in whatever happened.

The Council set a June 18th public hearing on establishment of a Rural Housing Incentive District for the first phase of a moderate-income residential development along Plum Street east of Plum Creek Elementary School.

The Plum Creek project, being coordinated by local developer Jim Strawn, would in its first phase include eight duplexes and 21 single family homes. Through the RHID, property taxes generated on the increased valuation of the property will be utilized to fund infrastructure improvements for the development which last year was awarded just over one million dollars in grant funding from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. A cost-benefit analysis on the project indicated the benefits from the project would significantly exceed the costs involved.

Approval was given for a special event district designation for Salty Cycles’ Downtown Mayhem Bash Saturday May 18th. The designation allows consumption of alcoholic beverages on public streets and such in a specific area, this on East Sherman between Poplar and Walnut between the hours of 10 AM and 10 PM. The council also approved a cereal malt beverage license for this event.

The Council also approved a Planning Commission recommendation to vacate the building setback along the south property line of a home at Radcliffe Terrace and Dartmouth Road to allow the owner of the property to construct a swimming pool behind an existing fence.

The meeting, which was presided over by Vice-Mayor Stacy Goss in the absence of Mayor Greg Fast and member Jon Richardson, also saw presentation of proclamations for National Public Works Week and Bike Month.