Archive for Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cannon aims to complete boat ramp

September 15, 2005

Looking for someone to get a construction project finished, De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson tapped into expertise on his city council.

Councilwoman Betty Cannon was named the point person to move forward a two-year-old city effort to build a boat ramp in the West Bottoms. The reason, she acknowledged, was obvious.

"I've got a lot of contacts with contractors," said the owner of De Soto's Betty's Trucking.

A boat ramp became a real possibility when the city purchased 36 acres from Holliday Sand in the West Bottoms in November 2003 for $60,000.

The city acquired the two permits -- one from the state and the other from the federal government -- needed to build the permit more than a year ago, said city engineer Mike Brungardt. He also drew up plans for the ramp with a materials list.

Despite having the plans and permits in hand, the project languished as the city council and staff focused on other projects, including the new wastewater plant and new swimming pool. To get the project moving forward, Anderson asked Cannon to lineup the volunteer labor and donated materials it was always assumed would make the project possible.

Cannon said she sent letters to contractors able to help with the boat ramp's construction and businesses that could help contribute materials.

"I think we'll get a lot of help," she said. "A lot of contractors act like they'll help with it."

Cannon said she would be among the donors, offering her trucks for the needed hauling.

As Cannon moves forward lining up volunteers and material, the city is awaiting a state report on the site's eligibility for brown field development funds. Cannon said she and other city representatives met with Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials about the possibility of having the site of a former city landfill designated a brown field.

"State agencies have money to help develop brown fields into something useful," Cannon said. "We're waiting on the assessment right now. Then we'll set a workday.

"We're going to get started on it. Hopefully, we can get in there before bad weather."

Cannon's plans don't end with the boat ramp. She also hoped state money and the volunteers could make other improvements, including walking trails, at the site.

"It should make a really beautiful area," she said. "We'd like to do something like Atchison. They did a beautiful riverfront park up there.

"The river has always been part of our heritage."

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