Community priorities discussed during intergovernmental meeting
Over 25 people attended a local intergovernmental meeting held Friday, March 29th at Concordia City Hall. Invited guests included representatives from the City of Concordia, Cloud County, Concordia Unified School District 333, Cloud County Community College, CloudCorp and the Cloud County Health Center.
Concordia Mayor Mark Matthew said they asked the entities to meet to discuss community priorities.
Last fall, CloudCorp sent an email asking local entities to come together to support projects prioritized by the community. The local governmental entities, taxing bodies and boards throughout Cloud County identified a new, modern medical facility as the top overall priority project for the community.
According to information provided to KNCK News by CloudCorp, the cities of Concordia, Clyde, and Miltonvale, along with Cloud County, USD 333, Cloud County Community College, the Community Foundation for Cloud County and the Concordia Chamber of Commerce all shared with CloudCorp their top three priorities for the community. A new, modern medical facility made it onto seven of the eight priority lists and was found to be the top overall priority project for five of the responding groups.
During Friday's intergovernmental meeting, Cloud County Health Center administrator David Garnas provided attendees with an update on the development of the Cloud County Health Center's Master Facility Plan.
In December 2018, the hospital, in conjunction with Salina Regional Health Center, embarked on a four-month Master Facility Planning process to address their facility needs. TreanorHL, which specializes in architectural design, planning, interior design, historic preservation, civil engineering and landscape architecture, is developing the plan.
The Master Facility Plan kicked off with the first set of meetings the week of December 17th, focusing specifically on data gathering. The next step in January 2019 involved departments throughout the hospital, the CCHC board of trustees, and members of the community providing valuable input as to future facility needs in order to enhance their ability to provide excellent local access to care well into the future. Then in March 2019, participating stakeholders reviewed preliminary designs for a healthcare project.
Also at the meeting, Cloud County Commission chairman Gary Caspers and Concordia city manager Amy Lange discussed their plans to address pavement failures and road repairs following the extraordinary amount of snowfall in Concordia this winter.
As previously reported, Concordia has experienced the third wettest winter in recorded history, with 46.9 inches of snowfall for the 2018-2019 winter season. The harsh winter weather is expected to take a toll on both the city and county's budget, who have purchased more salt this year than planned and have incurred more overtime expense than originally anticipated for snow removal.
Caspers asked residents to exercise patience as their crews continue to work on addressing the areas in need of attention.
And Matthew spoke about a request from the Concordia Senior Center for an on-going financial commitment to support General Public Transportation within the Concordia city limits.
The Senior Center currently operates an on-call personal transportation service providing rides to seniors, disabled citizens, students and the general population that has no other means of transportation. Riders pay a flat rate of $1 per one way trip. Typically, riders use the service to get to medical appointments, grocery stores, school, and work. Approximately 30% of riders are seniors.
A Kansas Department of Transportation grant funds 70% of this service, while user fees, other grants and donations, and support from the Senior Center make up the remaining 30% of the operational costs. The estimated $20,000 annual commitment from the Senior Center to support General Public Transportation takes away from facility improvement needs, like their buckling floor covering in the dining room, and programming needs such as Meals on Wheels and the dining room meal service.
The Senior Center is concerned their current financing structure is not sustainable.
Matthew said he hopes to continue these intergovernmental meetings, including inviting the other communities in Cloud County to participate.
A date for the next intergovernmental meeting has not been announced.