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October 19th, 2019

isaacs 3 12 19 city meetingLiberal citizen Reita Isaacs talks to the Liberal City Commission Tuesday evening about Pancake Day and the recent donation to OTLR of the former Garfield Elementary School property. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Pancake Day 2019 has come and gone, but many in the community are still singing the praises of the crews who helped clean up the streets, with some of that praise being expressed to the Liberal City Commission at its most recent meeting Tuesday evening. 

Liberal citizen Reita Isaacs gave her praise during Items from Citizens at the beginning of the meeting. 

“I was so impressed with everything the city did to get those streets ready for Pancake Day,” Isaacs said. “I went by shortly after 10 and I saw the trucks on the street finishing up and a couple crew members using the flamethrower. Not only did the streets get cleaned up really well, but the organization for all those little ones, I was just so impressed with everything. Then the next day I found out there were a few close calls and it was great to hear how everyone came together and worked together to make it all so successful.”

Praise was also expressed toward the city crews near the end of the meeting during Commissioners’ Comments. 

“I don’t know what else I can say about the city employees, they did just a wonderful job getting the city ready for Pancake Day,” Liberal Mayor Connie Seigrist said. “When those giant snowflakes started falling Monday, I was wondering how we would pull it off, and we did it. Any other city probably would’ve postponed it, but not us – we pursued and carried on, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

“Yes, all the city employees did an amazing job getting ready on Pancake Day,” Liberal Vice Mayor Taylor Harden said. “It was so great to be able to participate in that and see how everything worked from that side of it all.”

“I also want to thank all the departments who were out working on all that, we ended up having a great Pancake Day,” Commissioner Jack Carlile added. “And we won, so that makes it better.”

“Everyone did a great job getting everything together that day,” Commissioner Ron Warren added. “Even with that extra challenge, everyone stepped up and took it on and did a great job. So just thank you all so much for all you did and continue to do.”

“Like the rest of the commission, the staff did such a great job on Pancake Day from the breakfast to the race course cleanup to the parade, you all did a great job,” Commissioner Tony Martinez said. 

Along with her praise of Pancake Day, Isaacs also shared some concerns regarding the recent donation of the former Garfield Elementary School property to the Original Town of Liberal Revitalization (OTLR) from USD 480. The donation was approved at the USD 480 school board’s most recent meeting March 4. 

“I know the playground equipment from Garfield was taken away and was moved out to Arkalon,” Isaacs said. “And while that’s wonderful – and Tony Whisenant and I have addressed this with you all before – we feel that area should be designated as a park for the children in that area. And with OTLR getting that land and planning to build houses there, I’m protesting that. All those children who live in that area, they have nowhere to go play unless they go all the way out to Harrison Circle, and that’s really far away. That neighborhood has started to get run down too, so to put nice homes in that area, who will come along and buy those?”

“OTLR actually rents those homes, no one actually buys them,” Carlile said. 

“Okay, but you’ve still got those nice homes in that area that’s getting run down, so what can a person do to get a park in that spot?” Isaacs asked. “Because I’ve tried a few different people and I haven’t gotten any answers back. And I know there are some people who are upset about it.”

Discussion continued in this vein for a few more minutes. 

“OTLR is its own entity, they write their own grants and get their own money and everything, the City really doesn’t have a say with them,” Carlile said. 

“Do you think there’s any way we can get them to designate part of that area into a park?” Isaacs asked. “Like I said, the closest thing they have is Harrison Circle, there is nothing for those children who live there. Everything is either all up north or all the way south, but there’s nothing for that area.”

“The best advice I could give you going forward is to work with the OTLR board,” Harden said. “If they deem they want to open part of that property as a park to be open to the community, they would be the ones to make that decision. The conversation would ultimately have to start with them.”

Also on the agenda was discussion of the comprehensive insurance program renewal. 

“This would take effect starting April 1 and staff’s recommendation is for you all to approve the comprehensive insurance program renewal to be awarded to EMC Insurance through Al Shank Insurance in the amount of $608,126,” City of Liberal Director of Accounting Maddie Day said. 

“I want to thank Al Shank Insurance for being local who contributes to our economy and has employees from here, that’s always great,” Martinez said after the renewal was unanimously approved. 

In other business, the commission also approved Ordinance No. 4518, which concerns rezoning a piece of property from Agriculture District “A-L” and single-family dwelling to “R-3” multiple family dwelling district, and also briefly discussed the Cann Creek drainage and parking improvements to parking at the baseball fields.

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