By Rebecca Herman
Charlie Jennings from the Johnson County Youth Sports League was the first to address the city council at their July meeting. Jennings asked for the council to approve the use of the fields and concession stands at Ralph Stout Park for the youth football program. The council approved this request.
The council also approved for engineer drawing to be done for new tennis courts at Cunningham Park. Paul Maulden, Ashley Warlock, and Mary Gale updated the council with the requirements for the new tennis courts based on United States Tennis Association (USTA) standards. The group has already done some fund raising and has plans to apply for grants to cover the cost of the tennis courts. Maulden explained that there are two possible grants that they are applying for, each is $20,000, but in order to apply the city council had to approve blueprints that are up to USTA standards.
Next, the board discussed and approved expanding Heritage Square, per the request of Alderman Bob Morrison, to include the new Johnson County Center for the Arts. They approved this request and said that there has been some discussion of landscaping to be done, table to be placed, and a possibility of a small stage placed in order to have music played periodically.
Alderman Bud Crosswhite spoke next about allowing fishing at Ralph Stout Park. He explained that during the Fourth of July celebration, he had several people ask about the subject. After some discussion, a motion was made to allow fishing on Saturdays in the park, during normal operating hours. More information will be posted at a later date.
Mayor Kevin Parsons spoke about getting an Americans with Disability Act approved swing placed at Ralph Stout Park. Prices have been attained and now the swing needs to be ordered. Alderman Morrison showed concern over the frame of the swing, which he felt looked “flimsy.” Public Works Director Gary Phillips explained that the frame could be reinforced, if necessary. Mayor Parsons also announced that he would like to dedicate the swing in honor of Hunter Lundy. The council also approved for a new pump track to be installed in the park and for the park to be the location of a carnival, which will take place July 26-29. A location was approved at Ralph Stout Park for the Farmer’s Market if they choose to use it.
Mayor Parsons then announced that someone has inquired about donating an eight-lane bowling alley to be placed in the new skating rink.
City Attorney Steve McEwen told the council that July’s meeting would be his last. He will be moving on to another job and “wished you all the best in moving forward.”
Water Plant Manager Andy Garland asked the council to allow him to look at the costs of building a new tank instead of repairing what they currently have. Garland has already spoken with an engineer, who explained to Garland that the city would end up paying more to continuously fix the current tank. The council approved for Garland to check prices of a new tank.
The council also approved a request by Collection-Distribution Superintendent Chris Hook to replace a small section of piping on Circle Drive, as long as the price is reasonable. Hook explained that pipes are already being replaced around the location, so it makes sense to also replace this small section of piping.
Hook also said that he received a letter that stated that the city’s sewer maps were not accurate, so Hook asked that the council approve putting bids out to get the sewer maps updated to show to 70 miles of line and 700 locations of manholes. The council approved the request.
Parks and Recreation Director Flo Bellamy announced that the community center received a grant from Operation Pocket Change to purchase an automated external defibrillator and requested that the council help with the cost of background checks for four employees of the community center in order to work with students in after-school programs.
Earl Gambill told the city council that he is going to need additional lifeguards to cover the pool in August because most of the lifeguards he has will be going back to college. Mayor Parsons also mentioned that the new pool vacuum seems to be working well and that he wants to look into the costs of building a splash pad in the future.
The next city council meeting will be on August 1 at 6:30pm.