Danedri Thompson
There will be a CVS Pharmacy on the northwest corner of Main Street and Center Street.
Council members approved the rezoning and final plat to make way for the store during an Aug. 17 meeting. Though the council vote was unanimous, several Gardner residents objected to the store as it will displace the residents of apartments and homes on 1.5 acres.
The plat planning commissioners recommended approving did not require a right-turn lane from westbound Main Street, but council members made that a stipulation in its approval. The changes will reduce the Main Street landscaping area and push the building back slightly. The Kansas Department of Transportation also requested that left turns onto Main Street from the CVS store be prohibited, which will put more traffic onto Shawnee Street.
Cassidy Coles told council that she had an obvious hope that the council would not approve a plan that will bulldoze the house where she and her husband and children live.
“It seems to me that you’ve already made your decision,” Coles said.
She also worried that many of the residents in the apartments to be torn down will have challenges finding somewhere else to live.
“The older residents, I think it’s wrong for them to bear the brunt of whatever decision you make,” she said.
Ottlin Haas has lived in those apartments for 18 years. He said CVS’ parking lot will be the second largest parking lot in Gardner next to Walmart’s lot.
“Why would you want that downtown?” He asked. “Money talks. He who has the gold makes the rules.”
Adam Boydston, Gardner, said the community is already home to four pharmacies: Gardner HealthMart, Walgreens, Walmart Pharmacy and a pharmacy inside Price Chopper.
“How many pharmacies does Gardner need?” He said. “…If you think you need four pharmacies, something’s got to give. And you know what’s gotta give? The little guy. You need to kind of decide what’s the identity of this city. Are you for the little guy? I think there are still some questions up for debate.”
Council member Steve Shute said it was unfortunate having to displace the people who live there now.
“It’s a tough situation,” he said. “I know people are being displaced, but is it the responsibility of the council or city government to provide provision for those individuals? I would have a hard time making that assertion.”
With council’s approval, CVS is set to officially exercise its options to purchase the properties by November.
In other business, council:
• authorized a $25,098 contract to begin work on a project to put traffic signals at Moonlight Road and Lincoln Lane.
• approved a general malt liquor license for Hei Wa Restaurant
• authorized the $104,964 purchase of four new police SUVs and the $32,269 for equipment installation in the new vehicles
• authorized a $49,200 contract for Hillsdale WTP pond cleanout
• authorized a $32,146 contract for Bull Creek No. 5 Lift Station replacement