Presentation: LGBT Pride Month Proclamation
Excerpt: “I, Eric Mikkelson, Mayor of Prairie Village, Kansas, do hereby proclaim June 2021 as PRIDE MONTH in the City of Prairie Village, and urge all residents to respect and honor our diverse community and celebrate and build a culture of inclusiveness and acceptance.”
Presentation: Johnson County Parks & Recreation District (JCPRD)
Jeff Stewart, Executive Director of JCPRD, gave Council an update on the continuation of Meadowbrook Phase 2 of the PV Master Park Plan. In Phase 1, JCPRD constructed 3.5 miles of trails through and around the entire park, the clubhouse, a grand pavilion, 3 butterfly roof picnic shelters, an adventure playground, a sensory playground, the great lawn, outdoor fitness, pickleball courts, and “Mount Meadowbrook”.
The next proposed Master Plan amenities include: a sculpture garden/overlook, off-street parking, an additional picnic shelter and restroom, and a much-needed inclusive playground. The design team met with neighbors and revised the original plan to move the parking lot away from the residences on the north end to reduce light pollution from headlights. The new plan has since been received well by neighbors, so the project is off and running. 🙂 Construction is expected to start later this year and be complete by November 2022.
Councilmember McFadden, Ward 5, expressed concern about the status of the memorial benches or a memorial wall. Jeff Stewart followed up with City staff after the meeting that only one donation had been made to date and that donor is aware of the current status. Mrs. McFadden also expressed concern that there isn’t enough open green space in the park, or at least not compared to the master plan. JCPRD responded that they do feel it reflects the master plan and feedback from neighbors. There was disagreement on whether “Mount Meadowbrook” (snow hill) is green space or not. JCPRD categorizes it as green space because it’s still used as open play space, fitness space, and of course in the snow.
Of note: JCPRD has also reached out to the organization who has advertised that open soccer space for camps and such (and essentially co-opted open play space) to guide them in a different direction that is more appropriate. I.E. that organization should definitely not be taking over that space and charging for it to boot.
Public Comment: re: Prairie Baptist Church
Jerad Foster and neighbor, Molly, both of Roe Circle in Ward 2 behind Prairie Baptist Church (PBC) joined Council. They expressed frustration at the way the project at PBC progressed and how it has affected their personal property and backyard space. PBC did acquire a drainage permit, but no notice was given to neighbors of the work they could expect. The neighbors want PBC to invest in a privacy style fence, not the black chain link they’re currently planning for because the grade is too steep on the resident side for them to add any privacy screens on their own property. Without a solid screen, headlights will stream right into the backs of their homes. They also shared their concern that this could happen again, and what can Council do to prevent it in the future? The Mayor said Keith will give an update on the project from the City perspective.
Linda Cosgrove from the PV Community Garden came to the last Environmental Committee meeting, and the committee discussed interest in expanding the community garden program and the number of plots. So watch for more info on that. There was also a discussion, brought to the committee from me via staff, about facilitating mattress recycling prior to the next Large Item Pick up in 2022 to divert these mattresses from the landfill.
VillageFest and Independence Day are in just 3-½ weeks. Bring the whole family through the drive-thru event from 10:00am – Noon in front of City Hall. It will be similar to last year with a few additional treats! 😉
The JazzFest committee reported that they are moving forward with JazzFest on Saturday, September 11th. Two of three acts have been booked, and they’re excited to hopefully bring us a full-capacity event!
A reminder to join us this Friday, June 11th at 5:30 p.m. for our first annual Prairie Village Art Walk! We will also host a small ribbon-cutting for the “boy on a bike” sculpture which is PV’s newest public art piece.
The Tree Board met on June 2nd at Wassmer Park for a special recognition of 4th grader, Leah Norris, who was the local winner of the 2021 Arbor Day Poster contest run annually by the Kansas Forest Service.
- People are still getting sick. People are still dying, and it’s tragic.
- The numbers of infections are bottoming out, though.
- Vaccinations ARE available and safe.
- 53% of our 12+ population in JoCo have one dose,
- 45% of our 12+ population in JoCo are fully vaccinated.
- In PV alone, over 50% of our 12+ population and 72% of our 65+ population are fully dosed.
- Economy is rebounding due in large part to successful vaccination rollouts.
- Update on ARPA (fed funding) – PV expects to receive 50% of our $3,382,298.77 total allocation in July 2021 and the remaining 50% in July 2022. More info on what those funds can be used for and what PV will propose to use them for in the future.
- The PV Municipal Foundation has new leadership, and they have some great ideas and initiatives for the organization over the next few years. The Foundation runs the Gingerbread House Decorating, the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting, Shop with a Cop, and more.
- At the most recent Mayor’s Climate Accord, Gina McCarthy, Senior White House Advisor to President Biden on Climate Change, presented. She shared that we’re going to be seeing an unprecedented level of coordination, leadership, and resources coming down the pipeline. The goal is to be Net Zero by 2050 and to cut emissions in half by 2030.
- The Public Works building construction is running on time, and we look forward to a ribbon-cutting toward end of summer.
- The Mayor, and Council too, hope that everyone can join the Juneteenth celebration at Franklin Park at 11:00 am on June 19th. The event is a collaboration between Stand Up for Black Lives +PV, JoCo NAACP, the PV Diversity Committee, and more. So far there will be 10 vendors, a DJ for music and entertainment, a fish fry fundraiser, face painting, sidewalk chalk, and a poster contest with winners to be displayed in the R. G. Endres Gallery.
- The filing period for the next municipal election has closed, and current councilmembers Ron Nelson & Terrence Gallagher are running unopposed, and Parks & Rec Committee member Lauren Wolf is also running unopposed for Tucker Poling seat which he is vacating. There are three contested races in Wards 1, 4, and 5. Councilmembers Jori Nelson, Sheila Myers, and Dan Runion are not running for re-election. The Council is going to be losing a lot of talent and great people in January. Those outgoing members will be honored in January.
- Penny Mann in the Community Development office is retiring, and there will be small event celebrating her soon. Her position was filled internally with our current City receptionist, and her position is soon to be filled.
Wes Jordan, City Administrator
Wes’s June Plan of Action includes:
Keith Bredehoeft, Director of Public Works
Regarding Prairie Baptist Church, Keith is currently working with Kathy at PBC on the lighting and fencing issues. Lighting is something that can be solved within the code by staff, so there are changes coming. Fencing will be a separate permit, and they are looking at a chain link with screening incorporated. Keith stressed that this is a very unique project with this many trees and it affecting such a large amount of land and people.
Councilmember Gallager pointed out that this has happened before – Corinth South had a similar situation where trees were removed. Jamie Robichaud explained that on both projects the site plan approval process wasn’t triggered by the main project being considered. She and Keith are already looking at changes that could be made to update the zoning for major landscape changes so neighborhood meetings would be triggered, etc. They are digging deep into the issue to come up with a proposal that doesn’t cause any unintended bad consequences. Council will hear from staff in the near future. Keith addeded that PBC has been struggling with this issue and the cost for years. It was unsafe, and something had to be done. No one WANTED to tear down the trees. But all solutions required it. Councilmember Herring is hopeful that the Church will look at fence options that are more than adequate and not bare minimum, and I concur.
Regarding the Pool closures, the underground plumbing at Harmon causes the lap pool and the adult pool to function as one. About 3 years ago staff started to see water level fluctuations in the adult pool. At that time, they did testing and repair, and they didn’t see any signs that the lap pool was affected. However, once the pools were filled this year, they saw that the problem was indeed in the lap pool; a significant leak which can not be managed by topping off the water level every few days. So more testing was done on Monday, and one or two problem areas were discovered under the pool. Staff hopes to make repairs later this week, and be back open within the original 2 week timeline. This will not be a replacement of all cast iron pipe underneath the pool; it will just be a repair. A cost estimate in the works.
Construction on the rebuilt Skate Park is underway!
Keith thanked the whole Public Works team, crew, and staff who are doing great work without a home base and while multiple issues have been coming up here and there throughout the city to respond to quickly. They’re doing a great job, and they look forward to moving into their new space!
Police Chief Byron Roberson
Chief announced PVPDs first annual Youth Citizens Police Academy. This first year, they have 9 students from Shawnee Mission East in 9-12th grades. It will be structured very similarly to the original Citizens Police Academy where they will be taught basic police science, learn about equipment and goals, and in general get to know their PVPD. Students will meet twice a week for 2 hours each and 6 meetings total. Graduation will hopefully be in person at the July 6th City Council meeting. Cool!
Tim Schwartzkopf, Assistant City Administrator
Tim has been working on a plan to bring City Council back to Chambers with a hybrid option. However, during testing they found that some hardware wasn’t working. May 14th there was a power surge/anomaly which caused a number of pieces of hardware to be damaged. The contractor came in, and the Council Chambers are in disarray right now while almost every piece of equipment was removed and they do more testing. There’s no report yet on the extent of damage, but Tim also met with the city’s electrical contractor to look at how to avoid this in the future with additional protective equipment.
- Bird Scooters are coming to PV. Because they operate mainly in a city’s right-of-way, staff would like them to file a ROW permit that would come before Council. Watch for that in coming weeks.
- Council approved the following:
- Supplemental No. 1 with BBN Architects, Inc. for the design of the park projects at Taliaferro Park
- A contract with McAnany Construction for the 2021 UBAS and CARS program (UBAS2021 / 79ST0001)
- A construction administration agreement with TREKK Design Group for 2021 construction projects
- A request by the Diversity Committee for $1,219 to be allocated to the inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Festival in Prairie Village. The event will be held June 19 at Franklin Park.
Still need a vaccine? Click this link to find one near you: https://vaccinefinder.org/search/
So that’s it for last week. I hope you’ll join me, Arts Council, and many City Council members this Friday at our inaugural Art Walk! Some things I’m working on:
- Final preparation with the Arts Council for our first ever Prairie Village Art Walk 👟 (Download Otocast today!)
- Toured Tongawood Girl Scout Camp in Tonganoxie on a BEAUTIFUL day to scope out possible projects for some Silver Award projects for my daughter’s GS troop.
- Planning coffees with a fellow councilmembers now that most of us are vaccinated. Yay!
- Lost a GIANT branch/limb on our 50+ year old front yard tree, and thankfully no one was hurt and there was no major damage but removal was expensive 💰💰💰:
Take care, get vaccinated, and enjoy an almost-normal summer!