A unanimous vote Monday by Salina City Commissioners to hire Nebraska based HDR Engineering, paves the way for a preliminary design of the Smoky Hill River project.
The agreement pays the firm $3.2 million for mapping out the renewal project which covers 6.8 miles of the murky river bed, left cutoff from the main channel in the early 1960’s for flood control.
Now members from the Friends of the River Foundation hope to bring the river back to life – and the life around it.
“We’re hoping for non-motorized boats, like canoeing, kayaking, there’s a hope for that,” said Jane Anderson, Executive Director of Friends of the River Foundation.
“And there will be some places where that is possible,” she said.
City Utilities Director Martha Tasker tells KSAL News that where the river winds into the urban area, boats for hire could play a role. “We do hope to have water taxis,” Tasker said.
“And so there would be some areas where they would load and unload individuals in a small marina for storing those types of units.”
Both Tasker and Anderson said they are looking forward to hearing more ideas from the public at a couple of upcoming public meeting to be held in May, June and beyond.]