Motorists entering the parking lot on the south side of the Dickinson County Courthouse may be surprised to see that both lanes now go in the same direction.
Drivers now enter both sides of the parking lot from Buckeye Avenue and exit onto Court Street, then south over to East First Street. (Once fencing is set up for the new jail construction zone, access to Cottage Street will be eliminated).
When new parking lines were striped last week, the decision was made to eliminate the exit onto Buckeye.
“As busy as Buckeye is — being a state highway — it’s problematic when you have to pull out that close to the intersection to get onto the street,” explained County Administrator Brad Homman.
During planning meetings for the new jail construction, Kansas Department of Transportation officials indicated they did not like vehicles exiting onto Buckeye because the driveway is too close to the First Street intersection, Homman said.
Also, people leaving the parking lot often had to “dart out” in front of other traffic, he added.
County Engineer John Gough — who officially retired last week — suggested making both sides go the same direction to “give people the protection of coming out on First Street and using the stop light to get out onto Buckeye and the protection it affords,” Homman said.
Arrows were painted on the pavement showing the correct direction of travel.
“I noticed the parking lot was pretty full this morning and people are parking the right way,” Homman told county commissioners Thursday. “It will be a learning curve for a lot of people who are used to coming in there for many decades.”
Jail work starts today
A representative from Loyd Builders, the project manager for the new jail, indicated fencing would be installed today, creating the construction zone, Homman said.
Loyd representatives also met with electrical and utility contractors Thursday about getting started this week.
Commissioner Craig Chamberlin asked when Court Street would be closed.
Homman said it could be closed whenever the county wants. Once the city of Abilene approved the county’s street vacation request, the county took control of the street.
There may be some complaints from semi operators dumping grain at the elevator on Cottage Street; however, Homman noted that a few years ago when Cottage was a one-way street, drivers had to go east to Campbell and turn south to reach First Street, “which is probably safer than trying to negotiate a semi coming out next to the railroad tracks,” he said.
Homman told commissioners the final plat for a new five-lot residential development will be on the meeting agenda Aug. 15.
The plat was supposed to be addressed during an earlier meeting but was pulled from the agenda at the developer’s request to be “fine-tuned.”
The general location of the proposed subdivision is just north of the northeast corner of the Abilene city limits, west of Hawk Road and east of the housing development on north Haven Drive.
During their July 11 meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved a zoning change request from developer Jim Krueger, changing the zoning from agricultural to suburban residential.
• Commissioners unanimously approved publishing the proposed 2020 budget. The public hearing will be held during the Aug. 15 meeting. (A story on the proposed budget will appear in an upcoming edition of the Reflector-Chronicle).
• Commissioners heard from MarySue Roller, mayor of the city of Woodbine and wife of County Commissioner Ron Roller, who came to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the jail. She said that Woodbine city leaders appreciate being able to call the various county employees, such as County Clerk Barb Jones and Finance Director Janelle Dockendorf, for help when they need answers and said they are thankful for the sheriff’s department.
• Homman said a new sheriff’s department vehicle, a Dodge Durango with less than 4,000 miles, threw a rod and is getting a new “warranty engine.”
• Homman said the county had purchased 15 used phones from the North Central Regional Planning Commission that the organization did not need anymore. Homman said the phones are the same as the county’s current phones. It will be a huge savings since more phones will be needed once the jail addition is completed.
• Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson read a letter the commission will send to elected U.S. representatives seeking financial help for local ag producers who suffered damage due to heavy rainfall that resulted in flooding. The letter will be sent to Sen. Jerry Moran, Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Roger Marshall.
Contact Kathy Hageman at email@example.com.