Red water issues soon might be largely a thing of the past in Arkansas City, thanks to a trio of upcoming water line replacement projects, including one that was approved unanimously during Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting.

By taking advantage of using a contractor that already is in Ark City working on other city projects, Public Works Director Eric Broce was able to obtain a relatively low base rate to replace some of the worst pieces of water line in town. Because the company, Goddard-based Nowak Construction, already is here, there are not any mobilization fees in the new contract.

The area that will be addressed with this particular contract is in the Crestwood neighborhood, along Valley Road. Future projects will tackle the Brad Meek and Highland Drive water lines.

Both of those follow-up water line projects are being designed under a current contract with Smith & Oakes, Inc., which is surveying and engineering replacements in those areas.

“We’ve got the Meek project nearly 90 percent done,” Broce said. After that project is completed, Smith & Oakes will begin on Highland Drive. He said the Valley Road project was chosen as the first one for Nowak because the company is ready to work on it starting next week, as soon as the South Summit Street water line replacement wraps up.

The Valley Road project already was fully designed by Smith & Oakes because it is less complex. There are fewer services and utilities in that neighborhood than in Brad Meek or Highland.

Broce said he hopes to procure similar water line pricing for those two projects, however.

“It’s like a no-brainer — we’ve already got (Nowak) here,” Commissioner Jay Warren said of the contract that was approved.

Red and brown water have been a major complaint for several residents of the city in recent years, due to the age of the cast-iron water lines in town which rust over time and build up deposits.

But the issues have been decreasing somewhat in the last 10 months.

“We’ve had water guys in town since last September, non-stop (we’ve) been working on water lines,” said City Manager Nick Hernandez.

A large water main was replaced near Wilson Park, along North Summit Street, as part of that resurfacing project, as well as several smaller lines and services in the area.

“We still have a few little areas (after these three projects),” Broce said. “(But) they’re pretty small. … This would make a huge dent in the red water issues.”

In other business, the commission:

  • issued a proclamation of June 17 as Lions Clubs International Centennial Celebration Day in Arkansas City. Three local Lions Clubs will have a picnic at 5 p.m. that day at the Agri-Business Building, located at 712 W. Washington Ave., starting with a dedication of the recently refurbished lion statue at Paris Park, which was paid for by the Early Bird Lions Club.
  • heard an update on South Central Kansas Medical Center’s finances from Chief Financial Officer Holly Harper and Chief Executive Officer Virgil Watson.
  • unanimously approved the consent agenda, which included Mayor Duane Oestmann’s appointments of Pam Crain and Bonnie Niles to the Outstanding Young Student Award Committee.
  • unanimously approved Oestmann’s appointments of Kim Hocker and Michelle Dykes to the Arkansas City Recreation Commission. Hocker is the current at-large representative and will replace Ron Smith, who is in turn expected to replace her as the at-large member.
  • unanimously approved three personnel policy updates.
  • voted 4-1 to declare a structure located at 108 Jackson Ave. as an imminent danger and order its demolition.
  • unanimously declared a structure located at 1011 South C St. as an imminent danger and ordered its demolition.
  • unanimously approved the purchase of a 2018 Freightliner chassis with a Toyne 3,000-gallon tanker from Weis Fire, of Salina, for an amount not to exceed $226,185.
  • unanimously approved an amendment to the contract agreement with Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. for modifications to the original scope of professional engineering services for the Water Treatment Facility. Burns & McDonnell is taking over plant inspections after Smith & Oakes was unable to hire a new inspector.
  • unanimously approved an addendum to the contract agreement with Smith & Oakes for engineering design and inspection services for the project to construct a waste line from the Water Treatment Facility to the Wastewater Treatment Facility. The agreement was amended to subtract the $66,700 cost of the inspection services that Smith & Oakes no longer can provide.
  • heard a first reading of and unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the city, in conjunction with other participating governmental entities, to enter into a new interlocal agreement for the provision of countywide economic development services by Cowley First.
  • heard a first reading of and voted unanimously to table an ordinance modifying Municipal Code Chapter 14, concerning buildings and building regulations, until June 20 and also to schedule a study session to discuss the proposed ordinance at noon June 16 in the city manager’s office at City Hall.
  • voted 4-0 to authorize Hernandez to negotiate a one-year parking lease agreement with the Arkansas City Area Arts Council. Ark City Arts is asking to place a temporary storage unit on two parking stalls in the parking lot behind the Burford Theatre complex.
  • heard updates from Hernandez regarding the discontinuing of maintenance by the Ark City Tennis Association of the two remaining tennis courts at Wilson Park; a June 9 visit by Amtrak’s inspection train, which he and Oestmann will ride; the free showing that night of “Sing” under the Wilson Park rotunda; the special joint concert of the Ark City Community Band and the 35th Infantry Division Band of the Kansas Army National Guard at 7 p.m. June 15 at the rotunda; and the 2017 Fourth of July fireworks show, which Hernandez said will be bigger and better than any in the past four years. Any donations above the $13,000 needed for this year’s show will go into an account with Legacy Regional Community Foundation for future shows.