County Commission approves bids for Law Enforcement Center

During their meeting Tuesday, the Bourbon County Commission received an update on the bids and budget for the Bourbon County Law Enforcement Center from the construction and architecture teams.

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Steve Smith of Universal Construction Company, Inc., said the larger portions of the structure have been put to bid and it is important for the commission to agree to the estimated total construction cost so they could move forward in finalizing those bids before the contractors move on to other projects. With just concrete, masonry, drywall and a few other smaller construction items remaining to go to bid, Smith said the total construction cost will be about $6 million.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle to get bidders of late,” Smith said, saying there are billions of dollars worth of projects being worked on in the Midwest that are keeping contractors busy and away from the local project. “Construction costs are continuing to rise.”

Kevin Rost of Goldberg Group Architects pointed out that in just the past year of delays, due to the difficulty in finding property and having to complete land surveys, the cost of construction has gone up about 17.4 percent because of the rise in material prices and the trouble of finding contractors.

The commissioners agreed to a guaranteed maximum price of $6.25 million for the construction costs, with the price of land acquisition and architect fees alone bringing that total to the initial goal of $6.85 million. The remaining cost of about $1.7 million will be reached through lease purchasing items such as the cells and some electrical work, not costing taxpayers any more than was promised at the beginning of the bond project.

“It is disappointing,” commission chairperson Barbara Albright said of the unexpected rise in expenses, despite their efforts to decrease costs. “It’s more than we anticipated.”

Already, changes had been made to the plans to decrease the square footage and cut out other features the commission decided they could do without, but Albright pointed out that they still have to make sure the facility is functional.

“We’ve been committed since day one to make this project happen for you,” Rost said, saying they hope to have the remaining bids in place in the next few weeks, allowing work to begin before winter weather arrives. “We’re trying to stretch the dollars as much as we can.”

Once construction does begin, the project will likely take just over a year. Already, the building on the property has been removed so just a concrete slab and some debris such as bricks remain.

Fort honors fallen soldiers with Symbols of Sacrifice

For a fourth year, the Fort Scott National Historic Site hosted the Symbols of Sacrifice in conjunction with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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Almost 7,000 flags cover the parade ground of the fort, each one representing one of the American soldiers killed since the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism. On Saturday, volunteers read the names of those fallen men and women over the public address system in downtown Fort Scott.

Students from Christian Heights and Uniontown helped place the flags at the fort, despite the rain, on Thursday and Friday.

Festivities at the fort over the weekend included hosting the Friday night community concert as well as providing a performance Saturday evening by the United States Army National Guard’s 35th Infantry Division Band’s Brass Quintet. American Gold Star mother Jennifer Jackman also spoke.

The flags will remain in place at the fort through Thursday and visitors are encouraged to come and see the flags and honor and remember the soldiers that have died.

United Way recognizes recipients of funding

During the weekly Chamber Coffee Thursday morning, members of the local United Way board recognized agencies that receive funding from the organization this year in order to assist them financially as they provide assistance to Bourbon County residents.

Current United Way President Gina Shelton expressed her appreciation to the businesses and individual sponsors who donate the funds that they then distribute into the community.

“We receive the money and then push it out,” Shelton said, saying they handle it carefully.

This year’s recipients included non-profit organizations such as Tri-Valley Developmental Services, 4H, Bourbon County Senior Citizens, United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Safe House of Pittsburg, Kansas Legal Services, Care to Share and the Keyhole for youth. A representative from each agency took time to describe the services their organization provides.

Shelton said each year they go through a vetting process to decide where the funding would be best used and which organizations are truly benefiting the local community. Recipients provide services for the young, elderly, disabled, ill and a number of others.

United Way also presented awards to local entities for their support. Diehl, Banwart, Bolton, P.A., received the professional division award; USD 234 the public division; WardKraft the industrial division; City State Bank the commercial division; and Mercy Hospital received United Way’s Over the Top award.

Over recent years, donations to United Way have decreased due to losing certain employer sponsors as well as a possible break between generations, where parents donated regularly but now their children might not, according to Shelton.

Fort to host weekend Symbols of Sacrifice events

Submitted by Fort Scott National Historic Site

Fort Scott National Historic Site (FSNHS) is pleased to present Symbols of Sacrifice, September 9-15, honoring the sacrifice of Americans throughout our nation’s history.

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Park Ranger Bill Fischer looks over the Parade Ground of the Fort during the 2015 Symbols of Sacrifice week.

The main focus of the event will be a Field of Honor on the historic FSNHS Parade Ground, where a United States flag will fly for each service member who has died while serving in theater supporting U.S. military operations during the Global war on Terrorism. The purpose is to remember the fallen, their sacrifice and their humanity, not to glorify war.

Symbols of Sacrifice begins on Friday, Sept. 9, when school children and concerned citizens will place the flags on the Parade Ground. The public is invited to participate but will need first to register and receive instructions at the Visitor Center upon arrival at the site.

FSNHS is pleased to partner with Ralph Carlson and the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Center in hosting the community’s free Friday Night Downtown Concert on Sept. 9. Join us outside the Visitor Center, where the concert begins at 7 p.m. with an artillery volley and garrison flag lowering to honor the fallen. While benches will be available, please bring your own folding chairs for more comfort.

Beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, volunteer community members will read the names of the nearly 7,000 honored fallen from the Global War on Terrorism over the downtown Fort Scott public address system. As you hear the names of those sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends, please take a moment to thank them and the unnamed millions of other members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have answered the call to defend our freedom throughout the generations.

Then, Saturday evening, we are pleased to welcome the U.S. Army National Guard’s 35th Infantry Division Band’s Brass Quintet. These citizen-soldiers from Kansas and Missouri will perform a free concert on the FSNHS grounds. The evening’s activities begin at 6 p.m. with Mrs. Jennifer Jackman, past president of the American Gold Star Mothers, offering remarks on the fine work performed by that organization in supporting the families of the fallen, those still serving and all of America’s military veterans. Again, while the site will provide bench seating, we invite the public to bring personal folding chairs for a more enjoyable evening.

The Field of Honor will remain open during the daylight hours from Friday, Sept. 9, through noon on Thursday, Sept. 15.

 

Fort Scott takes step toward permitting UTVs on streets

During their meeting Tuesday evening, the Fort Scott City Commission decided to allow city manager Dave Martin and others to begin drafting an ordinance allowing utility task vehicles to be driven on city streets.

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In recent weeks, the issue of allowing the off-road UTVs on streets had come to the commissioners’ attention, with residents speaking both in favor of such an allowance as well as in opposition to it.

“We can’t make everybody happy, although we try,” Martin said.

Martin said he had discussed the decision with residents and the majority spoke in favor of such an ordinance, while those opposed to it referenced concerns such as their speed capabilities, ranging from 25 to 75 miles per hour, and the fact manufacturers built them as off-road vehicles.

A number of residents addressed the commission during Tuesday’s meeting and said they believe UTVs, including vehicles such as Kawasaki Mules and other models, are safer than motorcycles and golf carts as well as some cars.

Police Chief Travis Shelton gave a report, saying he had contacted other cities that allow UTVs on the streets, including Chanute, Parsons and Pittsburg. In speaking with representatives from those police departments, Shelton said they reported little trouble when it came to accidents, chases, ticketing and reckless driving involving UTVs.

“I don’t think you’ll have a problem with them” UTV owner Eric Shoemaker said, also emphasizing that he believes the UTV tires are also safe for the streets. “These are a lot safer than a golf cart.”

Martin said he had heard the UTV tires are strictly for off-road use and would not have proper traction on streets, but others in attendance at the meeting assured him otherwise, merely pointing out that the tires would likely wear out faster.

“I think there’s a lot of people in this county that it’s going to help,” said resident Tim Bradbury.

The commissioners approved writing an ordinance by January 1, with a 4-0 vote, with commissioner Jim Adams absent. That deadline will give Martin and others such as Shelton time to continue their research and determine what restrictions and regulations will be in place, such as being a licensed driver, 18 years or older and what safety features such as seat belts and turning signals will be required.

When the ordinance is complete, the commission will again address the issue and decide to approve it or not.

Fort Scott Business News