Newton: At Tuesday’s meeting, the City Commission approved an architectural contract and a land purchase for a new law enforcement facility.
The Commission voted to retain WDM Architects of Wichita to help guide the design process for the new facility. The City had issued a Request for Qualifications in January, and WDM was selected from among 11 proposals submitted by area firms. The architect’s fees are not to exceed $369,000 plus reimbursable items.
Commissioners then approved a purchase agreement for property at 320 N. Main, the former location of Salvation Army and before that, South Dillons. Advantages of the site include its proximity to the Harvey County Jail, the existing police office, Sheriff’s Office and city hall. Police Chief Eric Murphy said the size of the site would allow for the department’s growth well into the future.
The property owner, John Gretlein, who lives out of state, agreed to a negotiated price of $475,000, down from his asking price of $700,000. The property has been appraised at $500,000.
The City will assume the leases of three tenants: Anytime Fitness, Dollar General, and Stutzman’s Greenhouse, which operates a seasonal garden center in the parking lot. The tenants will be allowed to finish out their current lease agreements. During the design process, the City and architect will determine what, if any, of the existing building will be incorporated in the new facility.
The City has been studying the Police Department’s facility needs since 2010. Its current facility, which it shares with the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office, is too small, is in disrepair, and does not offer appropriate or adequate security or evidence storage, among other issues. Although City Commissioners and staff had preferred to keep the Police and Sheriff’s departments co-located, the Harvey County Commission was not interested in participating in the project.
In other action, the City Commission:
- Revised ambulance service fees and received a report on third-party billing for ambulance service.
- Approved a request to close Santa Fe Street parking lot at the municipal pool on May 16 for Newton High School graduation.
- Approved a request to close Kansas Avenue from Centennial Park to the north city limits on July 4 for a 5K run to benefit Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball.
- Approved a request from First Bank to use Military Park on June 19 for its annual Customer Appreciation Cookout.
- Proclaimed May 10-16 as National Police Week and May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day.
- Proclaimed May as National Bike Month and May 15 as Bike to Work Day.
- Proclaimed May 3-10 as National Music Week.
For more information, please contact Public Information Officer Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or[email protected].
Credit – City of Newton