Shawnee’s new city manager Andrea Weckmueller-Behringer offered an update on Monday on some of the city’s capital improvement projects, but some of them will require a lot more money – namely the 45th street expansion project and the renovation of the Santa Fe depot.
The slow movement of city government has led some to wonder when it will be Shawnee’s Pottawatomie County Historical Society Museum’s turn – especially since there are problems causing the site’s rapid demise.
Museum director Ken Landry recently said the 118-year-old downtown icon suffers damage from leaks in the rain.
Landry and Museum Board President Mark Schneiter recently reminded Shawnee City Commissioners of the problem.
“It’s getting worse and worse, everyone knows,” said Schneiter and offered to apply for grants for financial aid.
Landry repeated Schneiter’s comments.
“I know you started the process, and I know it will likely cost a little more than it originally did,” he said. “This is the age we live in with COVID.”
He said two years ago there was a roof estimate of $ 180,000.
Commissioners said the project was progressing – admittedly slowly.
“We are entrusted with making the best use of these funds, so we have to go through certain processes and follow all kinds of procedures to ensure that we use the money as wisely and as best as possible,” “Weckmüller-Behringer called.
Going through the planning and design processes takes time, she said.
“Then we have to get offers; We try to find the lowest bidder to get the best improvement at the lowest price and then we move on to building, ”she said. “As you can imagine, it takes several years from the start of the project to its completion.”
So far, no one has said much about the new price of the depot project, only that it will be much higher than expected.
“The design is complete (for the depot project),” said Weckmüller-Behringer. “That design work cost us a pretty penny, but it was really necessary to get the information about what needs to be done, how we can restore this building, what it takes – and especially how much it costs?”
Funding for the roof and renovation of the Santa Fe depot was $ 400,000.
“It falls woefully short of what this building really needs,” she said.
That will be the subject of a special working session of the city commission due to be held on December 6th at 8:30 a.m. in the town hall, she said.
“We really need to find additional grants; We have to find other sources, ”she said. “To save the building – the outer shell alone would cost us over $ 600,000, so we couldn’t pursue that.”
The depot is a historic building so it needs to be restored in a certain way, she said.
“It’s not just a few roof tiles missing,” she says. “Everyone who enters the building can see how the water has penetrated the walls.”
Weckmüller-Behringer said there was no point just adding new roof tiles; The entire building needs to be paved.
“This one will require special attention,” she said.
A half-cent sales tax hike passed by voters aimed at securing $ 30 million for a long list of capital improvements has been raising US dollars since October 2018. These funds, which are to be collected for 10 years, were specifically for public safety, roads and parks and public facilities and can only be spent on capital improvements.
In addition to the museum project, the list of capital improvements also includes major upgrades to other ongoing projects – such as the new police headquarters building and expo expansions – as well as parks, the redesign of two fire stations, major road improvements and more sidewalks and paths, and renovations to the senior citizens’ center, the Library and community center.
The Santa Fe Depot was built in 1903-1904 and operated as a train depot until 1973. It currently houses the Pottawatomie County Historical Society Museum, which contains many artifacts and information about the history of Pottawatomie County.
Watch for updates.
For story ideas, questions or concerns, the reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at [email protected]
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