Archive for Thursday, July 20, 2006

Speed limits to change on Sixth St.

July 20, 2006

Although the majority of the Sixth Street 20 mph zone was raised to 30 mph at the Baldwin City Council meeting Monday night, a four-block area east of Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center will remain at 20 mph.

City Administrator Jeff Dingman had met with new Baldwin School District Superintendent Paul Dorathy last week to discuss the speed limit. Dorathy was at Monday's council meeting to introduce himself and address the speed limit issue. He started his new role July 1.

"Jeff and I spoke of the concerns with the primary students," Dorathy said. "My concern with raising the speed limit from 20 to 30 is just that -- safety. From our standpoint, it's a safety issue because these kids are so young. We're asking that the speed limit remain 20."

The primary center is kindergarten through second grade. BESPC Principal Deb Ehling-Gwin was also at the meeting and brought up the concern that the fence along Sixth Street has gaps, which can cause problems during recess with children getting in the street.

Council President Amy Cleavinger said she'd talked to several teachers at the school and was concerned with raising the speed limit and also the signage in the area.

"We need to mark that as well as we can," said Cleavinger. "Everyone calls it a speed trap. We need to get signs up."

It was also decided the additional signage needs to include school zone information.

"I would like to see more signage that this is a school," said Council Member Tony Brown. "There are 7-year-old kids running around there."

Before a vote was taken, Baldwin resident Gene Nelson made the suggestion that the 20 mph zone be extended a block to Dearborn because of the Baker University dormitory parking lots in the area. The council agreed and established a 20 mph speed limit for Sixth Street from Ames to Dearborn streets and 30 mph from Dearborn south on a 4-0 vote. The new speed limit changes are effective once published in the Signal.

Also on a 4-0 vote, the council passed an ordinance which forbids patrons of clubs or drinking establishments from remaining in the bars after closing time. For cereal malt beverage establishments, that's midnight and with clubs serving liquor that's 2 a.m. Owners and employees of the establishments can be in the bars after those times.

"At the present time, we've got patrons staying after hours," said Police Chief Mike McKenna. "This eliminates that from happening."

The council also approved unanimously -- Council Member Ted Brecheisen Jr. was not at the meeting -- a first reading of an ordinance to raise water rates and hookup fees. The retail water rate will be raised from $6.29 per 100 cubic feet of water to $6.54. The 25-cent increase is to cover rising costs.

Fees to hook up to water and sewer systems will be raised from $1,500 to $2,200, if approved on second reading. The increase is also to cover rising costs. The fees have not been raised since 1999. The water rates was raised last year.

The council also reappointed Rob Culley as Kansas Municipal Gas Agency representative and Dingman as alternate. The measure was passed 4-0 and will be effective through August of 2007.

Monte Ezell, Baldwin City Recreation Commission director, also filled the council in on how the summer has gone.

"Baseball season is over as of Sunday evening," said Ezell. "The swimming pool is going well. It's probably one of the best summers I've had at the pool. Soccer registration goes through the end of the month."

Because of technical problems with the BCRC Web site, online registration isn't available and will have to be done at the office.

"We're down online," he said. "We're not taking online registration."

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