City news

Later this year Dickinson County staff will be sharing space in the Civic Center with the Abilene city staff.

The Abilene commissioners agreed at a study session Monday to work with Dickinson County Commission to use the Civic Center as the county remodels the courthouse.

A memorandum of understanding is expected to be approved at the next regular meeting on July 27.

During renovation of the Dickinson County courthouse, the counties offices will be moved both to Sterl Hall and the Civic Center.

Foltz said the move would not take place until after the Nov. 3 general election.

“It will be a very bare bones move for them,” she said.

She said the Civic Center is expected to house the administrative offices.

She said because of the COVID-19 pandemic use of the Civic Center has been very minimal. The use will be without any cost to the county.

“I think it would be very neighborly to work with the county as they move forward on their renovation and remodel,” Foltz said.

Julie Roller Weeks, director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that tourism in Abilene has slowed down and the center has been closed.

Ostermann asked if the Visitors Center located in the Civic Center has plans to open to the public in the future.

“At this point we are not,” Roller Weeks said. “Visitation does not dictate for it to be open and right now our funding is not in a great place.”

Should that change, she said accommodations could be made for both.

She said transient guest tax revenue was down more than 50 percent last month.

“We are just playing it day by day and watching our finance,” she said.

Parks and Recreation

Foltz said there were 51 applications for the director of Parks and Recreation Department. Five individuals were interviewed.

Foltz said interim Director Kellee Timbrook was selected as the director starting Aug. 3.

See full story in sports on page 10.

Block grant

The city of Abilene will be disturbing the Community Development Block Grant to 28 businesses, said Roller Weeks.

The city received $132,000 and each business will receive $4,714.

“I know it is not a lot of money for some but for many people it is a whole lot,” she said. “This could be the difference for people to be able to pay their bills or not. In economic development one of the first questions you get asked over and over is what incentives are there? What funds available? Normally there isn’t a lot. The opportunity that we have to bring a little bit of money to these 28 businesses is a really big deal.”

She said Abilene was one of the first cities in Kansas to be this far in the process.

“As such the rules are constantly changing and we are navigating those waters,” she said.

Commissioners will discuss at the next meeting a resolution to fix a time and place for hearing to show that the structure at 413 N.S. Third Street should not be condemned and ordered to repair or demolish.

Contact Tim Horan at

Contact Tim Horan at

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