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County Considers Creating Expo Center Committee

KSAL Staff - September 29, 2015 3:07 pm

Saline County Commissioners spent an hour Tuesday touring the buildings and grounds of the Livestock and Expo Center. Interim Expo Director Rick Lamer and Fair Board Member Kim Norwood explained the uses of the various buildings, the history of repairs, and “wishes” for the future.

Commissioner Jim Gile said it would take one amount of money to address functional issues (like air conditioning, lighting, paint and toilets) and another amount to address aesthetic issues. In information prepared by County Administrator Rita Deister, the County potentially has $176,957 total earmarked for the Livestock and Expo Center for the remainder of FY 2015 and FY 2016.

The County currently owns the Expo Center buildings while the City owns the land. A ten-year lease expires in 2019. The County has asked the City to identify their plans for the land, by October 31st, before the County appropriates monies for repairs and enhancements.

Chairman Monte Shadwick said “Saline County and Salina needs this place and we need to put some money” into it. Commissioners agreed that additional input from other stakeholders would be beneficial. They brainstormed that representatives might include Salina 2020, the Fair Board, Extension, event users, present staff, “a citizen at large” as well as the City and County.

Commissioner Luci Larson noted that the “buildings are in great shape and the grounds are clean”. Others noted that various groups use the buildings for auctions, garage sales and receptions. Especially in the summer, demand can exceed availability.

Norwood commented on the potential synergy of visitors who might cross the Mulberry Bridge to come to the area from the proposed downtown hotel. She said closure of the Greeley Street bridge has impacted the Midway and Ohio Streets intersection; as events conclude, a light at that intersection would be beneficial. Deister said the City may move forward on repairing or replacing the Greeley Street bridge in 2016.

County Adopts North Central Multi-Hazard, Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan

Commissioners Luci Larson, Dave Smith and Monte Shadwick moved to accept a five year regional hazard mitigation plan, that replaces one adopted in 2010 and that expires this year. Commissioner John Price voted “no”, saying he doesn’t support FEMA, “wishes it doesn’t exist” and noted it has “too many rules”. Commissioner Jim Gile did not vote.

The 900 page North Central (Region F) Multi-Hazard, Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan can be found on the county’s website, www.saline.org, under Emergency Management. EM Director Hannah Stambaugh said the county, communities, and institutional educational entities participated in developing this plan, in a multi-year process.

Commissioner Dave Smith asked if the plan committed the county to federal decision making that would override county decision making. As stated in the Request for Action, “although this is a Regional plan, our county and jurisdictions that lie within did not relinquish their autonomy over any decisions made for their” communities. Each of the Saline County jurisdictions were “able to contribute to the plan without having a central governing entity dictating what hazard mitigation projects they wished to identify.”

Stambaugh said that Salina’s Oakdale School is building a safe room that is being paid for out of hazard mitigation money. The plan “assists with identifying hazards, assessing vulnerabilities and calculating overall risk which allows for better planning and preparation for all hazards facing the county.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Commission adopted a proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness month. Shelia Beeson, of DVACK, told Commissioners that the:
• Number of victims served by DVACK increased by 13%.
• Number of victims who received safe shelter increased by 53%. DVACK provided safe shelter to 196 men, women and children for a total of 4,833 nights of stay.
• Crisis Hotline Calls have doubled.
• DVACK provided 15,174 units of services to victims including but not limited to crisis intervention, counseling, safety planning, information and referral, criminal and civil court advocacy, assistance with protection orders and emergency assistance.

Beeson, who serves as DVACK’s Teen Dating Violence Coordinator, says she works with individuals 16 years old and older. Her work focuses on helping individuals set boundaries and respect each other.

DVACK serves survivors of teen dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and elder abuse in Saline, Dickenson, Ellsworth, Mitchell, Cloud, Ottawa, Jewell, Lincoln, Republic and Washington Counties. DVACK provides educational presentations to schools, clubs, organizations, churches and businesses. Salina’s office is at 203 S Santa Fe; phone (785) 827-5862. Concordia’s office is at 336 W 5th Street; phone (785) 243-4349. DVACK’s 24 hour hotline is 1-800-874-1499.

Miscellaneous Business

• The Saline County Commission will move its regularly scheduled November 3rd meetings to Monday, November 2nd, as Commissioners will be attending the Kansas Association of Counties meeting in Wichita.
• Commissioner John Price asked that the Commission devote a few minutes of time at each meeting to set agenda items. He said there was a “need to get garage doors up at Road and Bridge”.
• Commissioners met in executive session three times.

Story by: Karen Shade for KSAL News

Copyright © Alpha Media, 2015.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this story or website may be reproduced without Alpha Media’s express consent

Stan Clemons

September 30, 2015 at 9:07 am

What fair grounds was Luci Larson on? Buildings in great condition compared to what? I been to these buildings and fair groups a zillion times and I can suggest that Luci pay a visit to her eye doctor. Evidently she did not use the facilities or restroom at any of these buildings nor did she spend anytime in the arena. Or how about the barns? Maybe she and the commissioners should spend more time attending events out there that is if they can get there safely since Greely bridge has not been fixed and its been several years and yes I know that is a city problem but those commissioners are spending taxpayers dollars on other non important things like drunken sailors on leave instead of fixing the bridge.

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