Humboldt project greenlighted

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Local News

August 29, 2018 - 10:58 AM

Allen County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to provide up to $335,000 to aid Humboldt in extending utilities to a 30-acre industrial tract. They previously had agreed to a memorandum of understanding for that amount, and voted again to clear the air.
Cole Herder, Humboldt administrator, has spent weeks putting together a proposal that makes ends meet after a request for a 50-50 federal grant was denied. Then, the project was estimated at $672,500.
With a sharp pencil and assistance from B&W Trailer Hitches, Monarch Cement Company and in-kind participation by the county, Herder has been able to reduce the estimate to a smidgen less than $350,000.
A significant portion of the reduction came from having Humboldt maintenance workers, and B&W resources, replacing contracted labor.
Monarch purchased the tract, a total of 30 acres, and will develop all, including construction of a maintenance and repair shop that will be leased long-term to Murphy Tractor, Wichita. Monarch and many others in the area, including Allen County, operate equipment purchased from Murphy.
The shop will be on a five-acre parcel in the southeast corner of the site, less than a mile northeast of Humboldt.
Materials inventory for construction of sewer, water and gas lines includes several contingencies that Herder said might lead to costs dropping as low as $300,000.
The county will allocate the $335,000 as the project requires.
Anticipation is construction of the Murphy shop will start this year.
When rebuild of the nearby U.S. 169 is complete, potential occupants for the remainder of the site is likely to increase. Herder said he has fielded several requests for information.
The sewer extension will be the most difficult to implement because the line must run downhill and connect with an existing sewer main, about 2,800 feet away.
Water and gas lines will be looped to ensure continuous service if an outage should occur.

HERDER also brought commissioners up to speed on other improvements in Humboldt, other than the Bijou Confectionary, featured in Saturday’s Register. The old Pizza Hut will soon be the site of a barbecue restaurant and the former Wonder Bread distribution depot, near confluence of north Ninth and Eighth streets, is being refitted for a brewery and steakhouse.
“And,” Herder crowed, “there are other things I can’t talk about right now.”
At commissioners’ urging, he discussed construction of a new ambulance station.
“I’m this close (holding thumb and index finger an inch apart) from having a site,” Herder told commissioners. “I hope to have a decision next week,” with “some good alternatives.” If the top choice becomes the site, “it will take about 90 days to clean it up,” he added.
If construction flows into next year, “we may be be able to do both,” with the other in Moran.
Cost has been loosely estimated at $300,000 each.

IN OTHER NEWS, commissioners:
— Heard a quarterly report on countywide ambulance activities from Michael Burnett, EMS director. The report detailed monthly activities, with no anomalies. All is going well, Burnett said.
— Approved bids for replacing a small section of sidewalk on the east side of the courthouse square — $535 from Lickteig Construction, Garnett — and to paint the assembly room before window coverings are installed — $575 from Ken Bryan, Iola. Lickteig’s was the only bid; Bryan’s was one of three, the others being higher.

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