Building owner has another suggestion for Valley Falls city hall
by Clarke Davis
If Valley Falls officials want a new city hall location, the council now has a second alternative to look at.
Retired pharmacist Frank Shrimplin visited the council Sept. 7 to suggest the city buy his building that houses the pharmacy and, for the past 20 years, the Glacial Hills RC&D. The RC&D has moved to Wetmore.
Shrimplin placed a price tag of $120,000 on the building with $20,000 down and no interest on the balance.
He said the council is planning on spending upward of $100,000 to rebuild a former building on Broadway, but that his building is ready to occupy now, has more space, and it has rental income.
Mayor Charles Stutesman told Shrimplin the council would take it under advisement and that it would be on the agenda in two weeks.
The matter was addressed again late in the meeting when councilwoman Lucy Thomas pointed out that the council “was never in the market for a building.” She said the council at the time felt it had to spend in excess of $40,000 to protect a couple of other business buildings on the main street.
The city paid to demolish and haul away what was left of a delapidated building and then put a roof over the empty lot at 417 Broadway.
She said the city knew it could never recoup the money it spent, but since the city owned the lot, the council had decided to go ahead and invest more to bring about a new city hall.
Mayor Stutesman did not indicate he was ready to make changes in the current plan.
“I don’t want to see any more property taken off the tax rolls,” he said.
The mayor did say he would look at Shrimplin’s building and give it some thought.
The building is located at 318 Broadway next to the former corner drug store that now houses Flamingo Too. It is a steel structure with a brick front, built in 1991.
The building was built to house the RC&D office and a pharmacy moved into the west side of the building 14 years ago. Shrimplin said the building was in “pristine” condition.
Shrimplin recalled for the council that he had to raze some deplorable structures that were also falling down before he could have a clear lot, property he bought at a tax sale. The 32-by-60-foot structure has a full basement.
Adopting the Standard Traffic Ordinance, usually a routine item on the agenda each year, failed to get passed and may result in overhauling all of the city ordinances.
The traffic ordinance would have outlawed certain all-terrain vehicles and golf carts from running on city streets and the officials balked. Officials know they have adult citizens who use these conveyances on the city streets and do it in a responsible fashion, so they held the matter in abeyance until they find a way to exclude certain sections from the adoption.
In discussing the city ordinances it was made clear that the last time they were recodified there were a number of errors and problems. Administrator Chris Channell said some make reference to sections that don’t exist while others don’t make sense or shouldn’t be on the books.
The mayor said they were adopted in 2006, but the present council might have to go back to the set of ordinances prior to that and begin the process of reworking them.
The council is also hearing some criticism about the new city logo they adopted. The logo proclaims “est. 1869” but that is unsuitable to some, especially those connected to the historical society.
The year 1869 is when the city was actually incorporated under the name of Grasshopper Falls as a village. It was located on the Grasshopper River in Grasshopper Township. The history book also notes that the village was incorporated as a city in 1871.
Opposition comes from those who want to emphasis the year 1854, the year Kansas was opened to white settlement. Andreas History states that Frazier, Riddle, Jolley, and Whitney discovered the falls on the river that measured about 3 feet on Dec. 23. They “moved up on the 24th and drove their stakes for claims on Christmas.”
It was these people who formed a town site company and determined the boundaries.
Valley Falls celebrated its centennial in 1954 and its sesquicentennial in 2004.
In other business:
- Heather Clark, representing the Valley Falls Recreation Commission, went over plans with the council concerning Grasshopper Day events Saturday.
- Jeanie Frakes, representing the Delaware Township Library board, discussed parking problems at the city-township building.
Councilman Todd Harrington was absent.
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