Mayor Steve Shute’s Facebook post

Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
The Gardner City Council agreed to “reopen” Gardner on May 4, once a plan is developed. Steve Shute, mayor, posted the decision to social media after a brief council discussion at their April 20 meeting. The state has been in quarantine due to COVID-19, and the governor has extended the “stay at home” order until May 4.
In other business, the council approved three ordinances for the Prairie Trace Development at their April 20 meeting. 100.4 acres at the Southeast corner of W 175th Street and Interstate 35 at South Clare Road will be rezoned from County to Commercial City property.
Larry Powell, economic development director, said the recommendations for rezoning were not unusual.
He said parking, lighting and other improvements can not conflict with airport operations. The property is located one mile from New Century AirCenter.
The second ordinance rezones 31.9 acres at the southeast corner of W 175th street and I-35 from County to City Residential.
Powell said 18 multilevel apartment complex buildings will be built on the site for approximately 424 units.
The third ordinance for the final rezoning is for 88.2 acres and 48.1 acres from County to single family residential units.
Powell said because the land is close to the airport it has been approved first by the airport board and county planning staff.
“We have everything ironed out,” he said. “It is a fully invested project.”
Steve Shute, mayor, said he is excited to get the project underway.
The Prairie Trace Development Project began with the City’s Comprehensive Plan in 2018. The development plan is for commercial properties on the north and northwest sides, multi-family units on the West and single family units on the east and south sides.
The city wants to attract more commercial properties to the site for commercial, civic, retail and industrial businesses.
Council members also passed the committee recommendation for the rezoning and development of 38.6 acres of the Breckenwood Creek neighborhood from single family residential to two family residential.
Powell said the development will connect the North side of St. John’s Trace to Madison Street.
In 2008 and 2009 the property had difficulties due to the economic downturn, Powell said.
He said the property didn’t develop .
The area will be small single family cottage style homes with no duplexes, Powell said. They are starter or retirement homes for about $250,000.
“I’m excited to see St. John’s Trace connected to the rest of Gardner,” Todd Winters, council member, said.
Winters asked if it was possible to push the development completion faster.
Powell said the development has to be built in 18-24 months over phases.
Gonz Garcia, utilities director, presented the South Wastewater Treatment Plan to council members. Garcia said the need was justifiable.
He presented a history of the Killcreek facility built in 2002. It was designed for 2.5 million gallons per day with a peak capacity of 7.5 million gallons per day.
Garcia said 2018 was a dry Summer and 2019 was wetter for the area.
He said the Killcreek expansion for 2032 is $16.8 million.
Garcia presented several alternatives with cost comparisons. These alternatives included the 2009 Johnson County Wastewater Bull Creek Watershed Study covering over 50,000 acres for Edgerton, Gardner, New Century and Spring Hill for 2010 through 2030.
“They don’t have enough capacity for us right now,” Garcia said.
An anti-degradation study was implemented for five long-term alternatives for the south wastewater treatment plant, pumping flows to Kill Creek Water Plant, pumping flows to New Century, pumping flows to Edgerton and a non-degrading alternative.
Garcia said a new south waste water treatment plant is the most cost effective plan of the five alternative plans.
The south waste water treatment plant will pump 2.5 million gallons per day and can offload existing system to the East and South Lift Stations. Garcia said it would cost approximately 43 million.
He recommended a preliminary design and construction plan to acquire the necessary easement and identify the optimal location.
Randy Gregorcyk, council member, asked Garcia how it will fit forthcoming needs of the city.
Rich Melton, member, asked if they could partner with another city.
“Discussions have been very basic,” Shute said. “There has been some equity partnership interest with Spring Hill.”
City Council passed the voluntary annexation of land at 15415 Lake Road 3 for .159 acres. The property is next to Gardner land and owned by Townley Living Trust.
Larry Powell, economic development director, said the property is a house extension at Gardner Lake between the house and lake.
The council passed the 2020 Utilities Purchasing Program.
Gonz Garcia, utilities director, said the city tracked their inventory on an Excel spreadsheet when he was hired in 2015. “We need a better system for inventory management,” he said.
Garcia said electric items have about a $10,000 price tag. He said he would like to have critical parts on hand and to extend the assets infrastructure.
The program costs would be for 20 items for approximately $286,000.