Mayor Mikkelson called the residents to the podium one-by-one who had signed up to speak for three minutes.
- Jim Cosentino, Mission, KS – Mr. Cosentino shared his concerns about the Y handball courts and the future of them with the changes coming to the Y with the KC Athletic Club/Group. (Mark Hulet of the Y was in attendance to hear these concerns as well.)
Ad Hoc Community Center Committee
Consider memorandum of understanding with the YMCA to collaborate in studying the market feasibility of building a community center
Councilmember Ian Graves, committee chair, presented the new information and survey form, and kicked off discussion by making a motion to approve the MOU as written in the packet. I seconded the motion, and shared that I felt we had a really great discussion at the committee meeting and we all feel even more comfortable with this path and the survey questions.
*note that the following comments are not necessarily chronological, but encompass a very detailed discussion that, I think, finally got down to the heart of the matter with some of the concerns various councilmembers have. As in, everyone finally said what they were really thinking and it was said succinctly and to the point. Emotional thinking was mostly left out of the discussion, but did rear its head every now and then. Regardless, we got to the business of the matter, and we have a better product for it. Is everyone happy? No. Will it inform our next steps after this one, if there are next steps? 100%. It was a very valuable discussion, and that’s why I’ve kept all of my notes here for you to peruse.
Councilmember Terrence Gallagher asked why the Y is only paying 1/3 of the cost of the survey and why we’re reaching out to residents outside of PV. Mr. Graves explained that by the nature of the partnership at this stage and PV being the ultimate owner of the building should it move forward, we are the lead partner and the majority of the information pulled from the survey informs the City on whether to move forward or not, with or without the Y. Regarding outside PV surveying, the Y has a built-in membership network and pulls from all surrounding communities, and they’ve gone into detail on all that before. Mr. Gallagher would like to see all Y branding removed. But he also brought up the other capital project that we are considering, which is the City Hall assessment and renovation or rebuild. He wants us to pick one or the other due to the combined large costs. Later, Mr. Graves reflected on a comment brought up by Mr. Gallagher about taxes and raising the mill levy by restating that he sees this project as one that will ultimately, and rightly so, go to a ballot measure to the residents.
Councilmember Greg Shelton asked if we could add a question about whether the individual is comfortable with the Y as a partner or not; not just if they want a community center because those may be different answers. He feels this would eliminate bias for or against the Y. Cathy Morrisey with Wiese Group (the survey company) said we could add the question at the end without biasing the rest of the study. Mr. Shelton asked Cathy to speak to the value of a straight comparison (as we’ve been working towards since reinstituting the ad hoc committee) vs. a complete reboot of the survey. She asked if we want to know how the pandemic affected the previous results, we need a comparison to the original and if we remove the Y from the questions, any shifts we see in responses might not be completely attributable solely to the pandemic. The shift might be attributable to the Y, and we won’t know that one way or the other. It would still be a valid survey, but not comparable. Mr. Shelton posited that the objective of the survey has changed, and it’s no longer about the comparison. It’s just about the appetite for a community center and the appetite for a partnership with the Y.
Councilmember Cole Robinson is still concerned about the partnership with the Y and the assumption that it will be a Y partnership where he sees the City bearing all of the financial risk. He assumes that we’ll put out a RFP for operational services if we move forward, and doesn’t think it’s fair to include the Y during this process and take their money for the survey. He wants the conversation of the community center and possible acquisition of the Y’s property to be two separate conversations. Mr. Robinson questions the Wiese Groups bias toward this project and the Y in particular. Cathy clarified that the Y constitutes a very small percentage of Wiese’s business, and they are an unbiased third party. Lastly, Mr. Robinson stated that he is supportive of polling the residents, but not in this format.
Mayor Mikkelson shared his two cents in reference to Mr. Robinson’s concerns in that we are giving Y preferential treatment at this stage, because they do have the land and they do have the existing customer base. He stressed that this is still not a binding agreement beyond this specific survey, and we can still go out to talk with other partners if the Y doesn’t work out. The mayor also stated that the Y will be contributing a significant sum through a capital fund, and that this projected is targeted to be a self-sustaining facility (as opposed to one that the City underwrites every year like the pool). Mayor Mikkelson wonders if, despite some good questions, we’re letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Councilmember Courtney McFadden does not support the MOU or the costs associated with the survey. She doesn’t believe that the survey from 2019 elicited “overwhelming support” as has been stated the last few years. She has two questions: is there an appetite for a community center in PV, and is there an appetite for the Y to run it? She doesn’t feel like the Y has shown proactively or performance-wise that they are invested in PV and ready to prove themselves and do better. Ms. McFadden pointed out that previously we were not able to validate the residency of the online surveys. Cathy said that this time we are planning to use a pin code that individual residents would have to enter to verify their residency as well as ask for zip code to cross check. Ms. McFadden does not want to pay for the same survey again.
Councilmember Piper Reimer asked if we will be reaching PV residents specifically, and Cathy Morrissey said that yes we will have probably around 600 or so PV resident online surveys as well as the 400 phone surveys that cover PV as well as the broader area. Ms. Reimer clarified that she wants to be able to extract the PV resident responses from the non-PV responses, and Cathy said that yes, that will be visible. Ms. Reimer also questioned the remaining reference to the JoCo Library in the survey, and Mr. Graves explained that the committee wants the residents to know the library is still at the table and ready to partner, but we don’t have specific question this time around. We already know that Corinth is being rebuilt and will remain in the area, also that they are very open to moving to the Civic Campus. Ms. Reimer said that wasn’t clear, and if she didn’t get that from the survey, then possibly respondents would not either.
Councilmember Dave Robinson reiterated his initial criticisms of the survey and the catalyst for taking the MOU back to the committee originally after the last Council discussion, but also his turnaround to accept a little bit of gray area to get to the next step that we want to take which is to find out if PV wants a community center. The Y’s buy-in on the cost of the survey gets them the responses to this survey too in order to tell them if PV is still a market for them. The outcome may end up being that there is not interest and then we can be done. If it comes back with interest, then we can dive into what the responses actually say, and what the residents really want. He stressed that it’s not a commitment; it’s just a step. We’re not tied to the Y with this, and we’re not even tied to building a community center. It just gets us answers. He thinks a lot of the questions Councilmembers have don’t have to be answered right now; they can be answered at the next step.
Councilmember Chad Herring thanked the committee for relooking at this and then asked how removing the library doesn’t change the substantial structure of the survey while removing the Y would change the structure. Cathy with Wiese said that’s why we still mention the library in the beginning, but removing the questions doesn’t affect the answers to the rest of the questions that are non-library-related. In reflection, Mr. Herring concurs with Mr. Shelton that adding a question at the end about the temperature toward the Y would be helpful. He is also still interested in knowing if the pandemic has changed the market for this in PV. He has received several emails in support of this project, but he is also concerned about the tight intertwining of the Y with this process, and it might be helpful to have a clear break in the financial onus of this survey by paying it completely by the City. He says maybe a reboot of the survey overall with two simple questions would e a good idea. He wonders if the comparison is so important.
Councilmember Inga Selders says that it’s critical to separate the Y from the discussion, and as it’s written right now she can not support it.
Councilmember Ron Nelson made a motion to amend the motion on the floor in order to add a question at the end of the survey asking the respondent about their impression of the Y and if that impression would have a positive or a negative impact on their support of a community center. Mr. Shelton seconded it.
Mr. Shelton invited Y rep, Mark Hulet, to the podium to address the concerns of the council and untwining the partnership. Mr. Hulet said that what it comes down to is the sustainability of the project. Building the building is the cheapest part of the endeavor; it’s the operation that is the most expensive and that’s what the survey is designed to answer. Wiese has done only three total surveys for the Y, and the other two did not move forward. One received negative feedback from the survey, and the other was fully stymied by the pandemic. The Y can’t mobilize their marketing or capital campaign efforts until they know if there is a project. They support the survey from Wiese; it’s statistically valid. It will give us the data we need in order to know if we should move forward or not. And it does have to include the surrounding zip codes. The Y is also on board with adding the question at the end because then it will not color the answers to the rest of the questions.
Councilmember Lauren Wolf is concerned about the questions asked and if they’re the right questions. She wants to move the ball down the road, but she wants it to be the right ball. And this survey doesn’t get us to where we need to be in her opinion.
City Attorney David Waters clarified that if the voted-on motion is approved it is specific to the survey as edited during this discussion and in such case, it may also have to go before the Y’s board again as well. The makers of the motion and the second confirmed that was the basis of their motions (the edited survey is tied to the motion).
The vote on the amendment to the motion (to add the question at the end about opinions of the Y) passed 8-4.
The vote on the underlying motion to approve the MOU with the amended survey passes 7-5.
The Prairie Village Arts Council 2023 Calendar is now available! Mark your calendars for our 6 exhibits and 6 artist receptions beginning in January and every other month thereafter:PVAC-2023-Calendar-UPDATED-11-12-2022
Councilmember Piper Reimer, Ward 4, shared that the environmental committee met to discuss 2023 and how to spread out their budget over the year. The committee has also committed to participating in the Overland Park Recycling effort.
The Native Plant Sale partnership with Deep Roots is unfortunately not happening in 2023 as they moved their event to the MO side. The committee is now frantically looking for ways to deliver their other exciting efforts that they were planning to deploy at the sale.
Ward 4 Report from Candy Cane Lane
Councilmember Dave Robinson, Ward 4, shared that this is the 65th year for the Annual Candy Cane Lane holiday display of lights and attractions at 7900 Outlook Lane in Prairie Village. Definitely go visit this holiday season!
Parks and Recreation
Councilmember Terrence Gallagher, Ward 6, shared that the P&R committee met to review the park branding package and will bring that to Council in the new year. This exciting refresh will send a clear message to our residents of the importance of our Prairie Village parks.
Councilmember Inga Selders, Ward 2, reported that the annual MLK Jr. Celebration will be Saturday, Jan. 14th from 4-5:30 pm, and detailed information about the event should be coming out soon on social media. Please share out to your networks!
- Mayor reported on his recent activities including five D.A.R.E. graduations with Chief Roberson and Officer Poindexter at our area elementary schools.
- The volunteer appreciation party at Meadowbrook park was a well-attended and fun event. Thank you to Meghan Buum and JD Kinney for making that such a successful event.
- We’re in a hospital overrun peak again; be cautious, stay home if you’re sick.
- There will not be a meeting the first week of January barring any last minute time-sensitive matters that may arise. The next meeting will be TUESDAY, January 17th (Monday the 16h is the MLK Jr. holiday).
- Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Prairie Village Municipal Foundation to support Shop with a Cop, Back to School with a Firefighter, utility assistance, minor home repairs/maintenance, food assistance, and other vital needs of our community members in PV.
- Also, consider volunteering for one of our many City committees HERE for 2023.
- The Prairie Village community gardens are now accepting applications for growing plots for the 2023 season. Interested new and returning gardeners can read the rules and regulations and apply online before December 15 at pvkansas.com/communitygarden.
Wes Jordan, City Administrator, informed Council that our new Evergy representative for all of JoCo will be Scott Jones. Wes already got his cell number to call in case of a citywide power outage. 😉
Chief Byron Roberson shared that two new PV officers are graduating from the Police Academy this week. The annual Shop with a Cop event served 12 kids that they were able to bring holiday joy to. Chief shared that one of the children had been displaced by a fire this holiday season, and two of the kids are Ukrainian refugees now attending our PV schools. Tip a Cop at Johnny’s raised over $1,000 for Special Olympics!
PVPD also was awarded a $75,000 grant to use for technology and training, and the department will use that grant to enhance de-escalation training and things like that.
Keith Bredehoeft, Public Works Director, gave a weather response update for later this week. There is a potential for 5 inches of snow plus extreme cold and wind gusts. Staff will be out all night the night before and into the day. Be careful out there.
Consider 2023 exterior grant program changes
Council approved the program unanimously with the amended language to include rentals up to 10% of the overall project cost.
Consider 2023 residential sustainability grant program changes
Council approved the program as outlined in the packet unanimously with the amended language to include rentals up to 10% of the overall project cost.
Consider election of 2023 Council President
Council approved Councilmember Ron Nelson as the 2023 Council President unanimously. Thank you to Councilmember Chad Herring for excellent service as our 2022 Council President!
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share this newsletter/post with your PV neighbors!
Please try to stay well and have a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and more!