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The Rundown – Newton contributes to Southwest Chief effort

Post Date:10/11/2017 5:17 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. Oct. 10, 2017, Newton City Commission meeting 

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission voted to contribute an additional $12,500 to the regional effort to keep Amtrak’s Southwest Chief on its current route through western Kansas.

In 2014 and 2015, the cities along the Southwest Chief route were successful in obtaining a total of $27.6 million in TIGER grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for track rehabilitation, primarily in Kansas and Colorado.

Now the third phase is beginning – applying for an additional TIGER grant for the track portion primarily in New Mexico. If this application is successful, Newton will pay its $12,500 pledge amount.

The Southwest Chief runs south from Kansas City to Newton, then west through western Kansas to La Junta, Colorado; and Raton, New Mexico; before proceeding to Los Angeles. Track conditions between Newton and Raton have deteriorated, and Amtrak had said that if significant improvements were not made to the tracks, it would divert the Southwest Chief to run south from Newton, bypassing western Kansas and Colorado. Cost for the needed repairs is estimated at $50 million.

Law Enforcement Center remodel

The Commission also approved a cost-sharing agreement with Harvey County to hire WDM Architects for a proposed remodel of the Law Enforcement Center.

Under the agreement, the cost of design services shall not exceed $241,000, with the City responsible for two-thirds ($160,666.67) and the County one-third ($80,333.33). The Harvey County Commission will consider the agreement at its Oct. 16 meeting.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Approved a request to close Oak Street between East Fourth and the alley on Oct. 24 and approved a temporary alcohol permit for the SafeHope Open House.
  2. Extended the closing date of the City’s land sale to Standridge Color Corp. to Dec. 1 and initiated the process of vacating easements on the property.
  3. Accepted the donation of land at U.S. 50 and Anderson from property owner Max Jantz. The property includes two drainage ponds that will serve as backup irrigation sources for Sand Creek Station Golf Course.
  4. Proclaimed Oct. 15-21 as Newton BPW Women’s Week.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or emcdaniel@newtonkansas.com.