Independence football fans rejoice, the Independence city commission approved asphalt work on N. 5th St. from Oak St. to the county line, including paved parking along N. 5th St. from Oak. St. to the north end of the stadium. During their regular meeting Thursday the commission also approved two proclamations, approved the purchase of two vehicles for the Independence police department and approved the final artwork for the R-Turn initiative's beautification project of the N. Penn Ave. railroad trestle.

After appointing Keli Tuschman and Eddie Rogers to the Housing Authority and Jana Shaver and Michelle Anderson to the Library Board, the commission approved the consent agenda after removing one item into commission action for discussion.

The city went out for asphalt bids in partnership with Montgomery County to improve costs and received bids for two projects, an overlay of W. Maple St. from Union Pacific Railroad tracks to Peter Pan Rd. and N. 5th St. from Oak St. to the county line. They included an alternate that would add paved parking along N. 5th St.

Mayor Leonhard Caflisch made the point that many points along W. Maple St. need a full-depth replacement and he felt it would be wasteful to spend money on overlay it with new asphalt that won't actually solve the problems with the road. Instead, he and the commission accepted the plan to overlay N. 5th St. and asked them to extend the parking area contingent upon staying within the $150,000 allotted in the budget for the overlay road work.

Officers Hilary Cook and Ty Lupardus received Meritorious Conduct awards for their roles in safely taking a man who was under the influence of a controlled substance into custody. The officers were responded to a report of trespassers and recognized the reporting party to be under the influence of a controlled substance with contraband in plain view after they were invited into the house. The man became violent and slashed at the officers with a knife when they attempted to apprehend him, resulting in cutting Officer Lupardus' hand.

Police Chief Jerry Harrison described how the officers utilized their training to react in a tactical and professional way, ensuring they were able to apprehend the suspect without injury to him or the officers. He also noted that Officer Cook had only just been sworn in at the prior commission meeting.

After the commissioners congratulated the officers and thanked them for their exemplary service, Harrison introduced a new officer to be sworn in, Ike Dye. Officer Dye has worked as a part-time officer with the force since October and was sworn in by city clerk Mike Borovetz at the meeting.

The commission approved an ordinance amending the city code pertaining to the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public property. According to city attorney Jeff Chubb, an error in the online code uploading had caused for some ordinances the city had already passed to get missed, so they needed to be put back into the city code through the new ordinance.

Alcohol is permitted in certain city-owned buildings during certain functions. For example, those of lawful age who are attending functions legally conducted can consume alcohol at the library, Memorial Hall/Civic Center, Stich Shelter House, Lone Chief Cabin, the enclosed 4-H building, the open 4-H buildings, Rock Kitchen, Concession House, Garden Club House, Tennis Clubhouse and any other permanently enclosed structure owned by the city located in Riverside Park.

You can drink certain alcoholic beverages in open areas of the park and zoo - wine and beer can be consumed at the Band Shell, covered picnic tables, open 4-H buildings and Oval. With prior approval of the city manager possession and consumption of wine or beer is permissible in the zoo. If the miniature golf course is reserved for a private party, wine or beer can be consumed there.

One addition to the code was to accommodate downtown beer gardens, as the Ad Astra festival had requested having one. Caflisch had issues with the language being too broad, saying it made it sound like "the whole downtown could be a beer garden." Chubb said he would go through and specify the language, so the ordinance was approved with that section removed.

In other business, the commission:

  • Approved the artwork for the N. Penn Ave. railroad trestle
  • Denied the request from Eclectix Art Gallery to paint the traffic control box at Penn Ave. and Laurel St.
  • Scheduled public hearings for June 28 for the structures at 221 S. 15th St., 419 S. 2nd St., 905 W. Sycamore and the garage at 301 S. 4th St. to consider as dangerous and unsafe
  • Proclaimed May 6-12 as Public Service Recognition Week
  • Proclaimed May 20-26 as Emergency Medical Services Week with a kid's day celebration to take place May 20 at the Park Oval
  • Discussed getting more proposals for roof and sealing work at the 1916 City Hall
  • Discussed progress on negotiating the Access Management Plan with the Kansas Department of Transportation

The Independence city commission meets the second and fourth Thursday of the month in the Veteran's Room of the Civic Center at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.