Midtown lot construction project falls through
The housing project on the Old Midtown lot has fallen through after Jadwin Construction owner, Cory Jadwin, said there were compaction issues within the dirt work. The discussion took place at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb.14, at the Sabetha City Hall during the regular commission meeting. Present for the meeting were Mayor Cody Bletscher, commissioners Norm Schmitt, Nick Aberle, Maridel Wittmer and Julie Burenheide, City Administrator Doug Allen, Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer, and City Clerk Steve Compo. Guests present were Marvin Kohlmeier, Jason Enneking and Berti Enneking.
The City voted 3-2 in November 2021 to sell the old Midtown lot property for $30,000. However, Allen told the commissioners that attorneys for the City of Sabetha and Jadwin Construction had been “discussing back and forth on verbage” in the contract for the sale of the property.
“By the time that happened, we got the dirt work back and the compaction is not acceptable, and they said it probably wouldn’t be acceptable in two years or so,” Allen said. “He [Cory] came up with an option and said he would still be interested, but he only wants to pay $10,000 for the lot. He has an estimate for up to $24,000 for testing to get the compaction right, but that does not include any of the dirt work he would do.”
“I feel like we gave him a good offer,” Schmitt said. “My opinion is if we go back on this thing, I would rather see us come up with a rule set on that property and saying that we sell the property under these conditions. It was a good idea, because of housing and tax. If we go any lower, everybody should have that opportunity. I think he got a sweet deal to begin with.”
Wittmer agreed with Schmitt saying the price of $30,000 was “a good price.”
“If he wants to build, then has to take care of his own problems,” Wittmer said. “That’s not our responsibility.”
“I can’t believe going in he didn’t realize that testing was probably going to come back wrong anyway,” Burenheide said. “We knew whoever took that site was going to have to do dirt work, that’s obvious.”
Allen said there is no contract signed currently, the dirt work came back before the contract got finished, thus the city was under “no obligations.”
Schmitt said in the near future he would like to get a discussion going about the conditions they want to sell that land under. The other commissioners agreed.
The commission voted unanimously to turn down Jadwin’s offer of $10,000 for the lot.
Oregon Street Sidewalk
Kohlmeier approached the commissioners with the idea of upgrading and moving the sidewalk on Oregon Street, in order to make it safer for kids who are walking along Oregon Street. Kohlmeier said he wanted to see the sidewalk moved to the southside of the utility poles and away from the street. Kohlmeier said he was wanting to extend the sidewalk from Bluejay Boulevard to 14th Street.
“I am the one that brought this up to our school and talked to Superintendent Todd Evans about the safety of this sidewalk over the years,” Kohlmeier said. “There is no curb between the sidewalk and the street and a very narrow sidewalk. It is probably one of the most unsafe things we can have for the kids that are walking, and particularly now that we have the aquatic park. I think this is something that our school and our city would really like to see improved.”
Allen said the city had obtained rough numbers for the project last November, and was hoping the commissioners would allow him to begin looking for grants to help pay for the project. However, Kohlmeier said there is a portion of the project that the Greater Sabetha Community Foundation would like to take on and raise the funds for.
“The most expensive part of the project might be the bridge over the creek,” Kohlmeier said. “The Greater Sabetha Community Foundation would be interested in just that portion of the project.”
Kohlmeier said there is “history” to the bridge, which is located east of Fifth and Oregon Streets.
“The Scobys [Gary and Leslie Scoby] tell me that on the very south end of all that is a railroad trestle that goes back all the way to maybe 1854, and if you go out north of town and take a look at the historical marker, talking about the underground railroad and the two little towns that were built just south of the Nebraska line,” Kohlmeier said. “This supposedly has some history that connects with that bridge, going clear back to that railroad trestle. So, we would like to make that a historical sidewalk, and we would be interested in supporting just that bridge part. We would be interested in supporting education and history.”
The rough cost estimate Allen received last November for the project was approximately $600,000.
The commissioners further discussed the project and then voted unanimously for Allen to begin looking for grants to cover a portion or all of the project.
Also at the meeting:
The commissioners approved the minutes from the Jan. 24 meeting.
The commissioners approved selling land in the industrial park to Argabright Welding. The property being sold is located on 246th and Antelope Roads across from Triple C.
The commissioners approved the conditional use permit for lodging to be located at 1012 Main Street. The Sabetha Planning Commission voted unanimously to “recommend” this project to the commission. The project is spearheaded by Ryan and Amber Lierz who intend to put in three small lodges in the bottom portion of the building.
R. Lierz said during the Planning Commission meeting held on Thursday, Feb. 3, they had purchased the building to rent out for a retail business, but when they had “no luck” in finding a business, they opted to convert it into lodging.
The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, at Sabetha City Hall.