All posts by Michelle Workman

Commission Approves Plats for Redevelopment District

After months of research and planning, the redevelopment district at the former Woods location will undergo changes after the Fort Scott City Commission gave their approval during Tuesday night’s meeting.

“Tonight’s an extremely important night for the project,” said Joel Riggs of Super Market Developers, a subsidiary of Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., which helps build or renovate independent grocers such as Super Savers, Woods and other Price Choppers.

Barry Queen of Queen Enterprises, LLC, said his company looks forward to bringing a Price Chopper to Fort Scott, adding he has connections to the area through his parents and grandparents.

“We enjoy the community,” Queen said. “We miss the grocery store…We’re excited about the project.”

The project will cost a total of about $9.4 million, with $2.55 million of that reimbursed to them through the city’s Tax Increment Financing and Community Improvement District bond, and will include an extensive renovation that will change the look of the building entirely.

“You will not recognize this building when we’re done,” Riggs said.

Preliminary sketches for the Queen Price Chopper
Preliminary sketches for the Queen Price Chopper

One of the largest changes will be the addition of a Dunkin’ Donuts on the south side of the building, including a drive-thru window. The pharmacy will not be brought back, but there may be additional retail or restaurant on the property in the future as well.

The plats approved by the commission includes the building and parking lot at 2322 S. Main Street as well as the land behind and south of the building near Tractor Supply, adding up to five acres of redevelopment property and 39,500 square feet of building.

With the city’s approval of the plat, lot lines and the resolution to issue bonds to the project, the investors said they hope to close on the property in July and hire contractors immediately to start the construction. If all goes as planned, the store could be complete by November, though it may not be finished until the new year depending on other contingencies.

“There’s so many people who can’t wait for it to open,” said Todd Ferrel, while other citizens attending the meeting said they look forward to having another competitor for Walmart and source of fresh produce and a deli option.

Riggs said they project the new business could bring in an estimated $25 million in sales tax over 20 years, as well as $3.6 million in real and personal property tax, while adding about 100 new jobs.

“We are proud to have you guys believe in our community and invest as you are,” City Manager Dave Martin said.

Commission Dismisses Rumor of Elm Creek Lake Sale

The Bourbon County Commission spoke with residents Tuesday who expressed concerns over the possibility that the county could sell Elm Creek Lake to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

During a meeting in early May, commissioner Jeff Fischer had shared a citizen’s suggestion that the county sell the lake so the maintenance would not be the county’s responsibility and a financial burden. No other discussion or decision was made during that meeting.

“There’s no plan to even discuss it,” commissioner Lynne Oharah said of such a sale. “It’s not going to be sold.”

Robert Query said the lake was created in 1936 as a backup water source, a place of recreation for the public and a source of employment, and he does not want to see that change.

“I am against the thought of selling it,” Fischer assured Query and others who came for confirmation of that fact.

Resident Gilbert Fleeman said he wants to see the lake remain public, county land for his children and grandchildren to enjoy.

Query pointed out there is a need for repairs of the lake’s dam, which has a number of leaks. He encouraged the county not to disregard such repairs as just another expense and decide to ignore it, adding he believes the money could be gathered through fundraisers and donations and not just from the county budget.

Oharah said they will look into estimates of what it would cost to fill in the holes.

County Receives Budget Requests

Over the past month, the Bourbon County Commission has accepted budget requests from a variety of departments as they prepare for their upcoming budget deadline.

The commission continues to try to be frugal with the county funds as they face expenses such as roads and bridges in need of repairs, vehicles and equipment in need of replacement, as well as the need to offer employees competitive salaries and benefits in order to encourage them to stay.

Already, a work session has been held by the commission to look over the budget requests and the budget process. A few requests including that from the Sheriff’s Department and the Attorney have not yet been received.

See below for the departments and their budget requests for 2018 and the amount they were given for the 2017 budget year, as provided by County Clerk Kendell Mason.

Department                                       2018 Request                 2017 Approved

Appraiser                                             $279,761                                  $268,162

Bridge and Culvert                         $204,129                                  $214,129

Clerk                                                       $96,760                                      $98,462

District Court                                    $247,293                                  $242,293

Election                                               $86,900                                       $86,900

Elm Creek                                           $27,031                                      $26,931

Emergency Management            $61,439                                    $66,464

Emergency Management Grant    $17,500                              $17,000

Information Technology                  $187,503                              $173,288

Landfill                                                      $302,580                                $238,749

Noxious Weed                                    $151,528                                 $151,528

Register of Deeds                               $90,450                                   $90,550

Road and Bridge                                 $2,003,688                             $2,003,688

Road and Bridge Sales Tax            $1,008,124                            $1,064,894

Special Bridge                                     $20,585                                       $20,585

Special Bridge Improvement Fund    $364,318                         ———–

Treasurer                                             $106,750                                     $106,062

Secret Garden Tour Puts Private Gardens on Display

The Bourbon County Garden Club continues their tradition of hosting the Secret Garden Tour Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., as four Fort Scott residents open their yards for the viewing of their elaborate gardens.

The event first began in 1998 with Martha Scott and Pat Lyons organizing the tours, which were handed over to the leadership of the garden club in 2001.

“They wanted a unique way to get people to come to Fort Scott,” Garden Club President Judy Wallis said.

This year’s tours include four homes as well as the community garden on Horton Street and the Vineda de Alamo vineyard owned by Bobby and Denise Duncan. A variety of themes will be on display, including shade, vegetable, old-fashioned, courtyard and country gardens.

Wallis, speaking during Thursday morning’s Chamber Coffee, said the event is a great opportunity to view the gardens usually hidden on private property. She said it also allows visitors to learn about different plants and get ideas for their own landscaping.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce building and Country Cupboard for $10. Participants can visit the locations on their own time within the hours of the tour.

The Garden Club also participates in planting and maintaining the hanging flowers and other garden areas located in downtown Fort Scott. The group meets every fourth Thursday evening and invites visitor interested in learning more.

Maria’s Restaurant Opens for Business

After being empty for some time, the restaurant connected to Fort Scott Inn is again open for business with Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the grand opening of Maria’s Restaurant.

“Congratulations on your opening today,” said Lindsay Madison, executive director of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce.

Owner and chef Andy Bravo invested in the restaurant with his wife, saying he named the restaurant after his mother and grandmother.

Supervisor Reuben Curls said he has been learning the menu from Bravo and encourages the community to come try the restaurant, even as they continue to grow accustomed to their positions and menu options.

“The new menu we’ve got is really intense,” Curls said of their selection of homemade items. “It’s beautiful presentation.”

The restaurant is open through breakfast, lunch and dinner, including a variety of all-American food such as biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs, omelets, waffles, a variety of crepes, pastas, salads, sandwiches, seafood, steaks and a number of items with a Mexican theme.

“Welcome to the Fort Scott Inn family,” said Fort Scott Inn owner Alex Desai, adding he has seen Bravo invest a lot of time and finances in the business and looks forward to what that hard work will bring.

“I know he’s in it for the long run,” Desai said.

The menus and further information can be found at the Maria’s Restaurant Facebook page here.