New year could bring changes for community and county.
Many projects were started in the City of Shawnee in 2013. This year, many of those projects will hopefully be finalized while other projects are just beginning.
One of the biggest focuses for the City of Shawnee in the last few months of 2013 was the Municipal Pool and fundraising efforts to make the pool a reality.
The Avedis Foundation challenged the pool committee to a grant of $616,000. The pool committee was charged to raise $1,233,000 of the total project cost of $4,233,200.
“That’s the key thing, to reach that Avedis Foundation grant challenge,” said John Ayers, Shawnee Municipal Pool committee member.
Shawnee Mayor Wes Mainord said the new pool would have something for everyone including shade, a river to walk through, slides, a splash pad and much more.
“We hope to award a bid in early February,” Ayers said.
The committee is still accepting donations to reach that goal.
Before moving forward in the project, reviews of the engineered drawings will be returned upon evaluation. Once a bid has been awarded, construction will soon follow.
Construction will soon begin at a different location in Shawnee. St Anthony Shawnee Hospital recently announced a new construction project for the west wing of the hospital. The new 115,000 square foot, three-story tower will house the new Women’s Center, intensive care unit, and inpatient surgery.
“We’re extremely proud of the opportunity to be able to continue this, to expand our surgical services, completely replace and update our ICU and develop a new comprehensive women’s facility,” said Chuck Skillings, President of St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital.
Although the construction of the project is not scheduled to be completed until fall of 2015, internal demolition of the current west wing has already begun and external demolition will soon follow.
While Zimmerman Properties is not at the construction step quite yet, city commissioners did approve a resolution of support for them in pursuit of an 84-unit affordable housing development located off Transportation Parkway. Commissioners expressed concerns of the new housing edition with some even voting against the resolution of support. These concerns were primarily based on the location of the new addition.
Commissioner Linda Agee said it’s interesting the timing and location of the housing complex with the potential of a new retail development going in very close to the location Zimmerman Properties is looking to build.
“People in that income bracket that work at those kinds of jobs and need a nice place to live wouldn’t have to commute very far and probably could have rent that would make them live a little more comfortably,” she said.
A Dallas, Texas-based retail developer is working to bring that new retail development Agee mentioned to Shawnee. The $20 million anchored shopping district with major retailers could open in the area of Interstate 40 and Kickapoo Street by the end of this year.
Jeff Williams, president of Hunt Properties, Inc., said Phase 1 of the project calls for 100,000 square feet of retail space, with four to six retailers on 20 acres of the initial development area west of the Burger King and Delta Café.
With the project three years in the making, Hunt Properties is now seeking incentives from the city of Shawnee and Pottawatomie County and hope to break ground early this year, Williams confirmed.
One reconstruction project continuing this year from 2013 is the Kickapoo Reconstruction project. Back in October, a tentative completion timeframe for the project was early fall of this year.
This year, Shawnee’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau will move toward becoming privatized and evolving into an independent 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit agency.
In 2013, Bill Geist, consultant with Zeitgeist Consulting, recommended the CVB separate during a presentation made to members of the Shawnee City Commission, the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Tourism Advisory Committee. Geist has been consulted again to help the CVB with this transition.
Another change to occur for Shawnee residents this year is curbside recycling. City commissioners approved a curbside-recycling plan that will be implemented soon.
Watch for updates.
Note: Kim Morava contributed to this article.