It took a volunteer group of close to 75 people to get it ready, but the 23rd Street Bike Park is now open for riders.

It took a volunteer group of close to 75 people to get it ready, but the 23rd Street Bike Park is now open for riders.
Pittsburg City Commissioners approved the opening of the park at their meeting Tuesday night at the Beard-Shanks Law Enforcement Center after expressing their appreciation to the project’s founders.
“Changing it from the 23rd Street Dumps to the 23rd Street Bike Park ... just the name change is a positive,” quipped Commissioner Bill Rushton. “You took an eyesore and a disaster and made it a safer place for kids to play.”
While the park will be open, it’s still far from finished. Opening the paths for bikers marked the completion of Phase One of the project, with future phases to include a dirt-bike course and the relocation of the Pittsburg Skate Park.
Jeff Wilbert, interim parks and recreation director, said the volunteer effort was a huge help to the city. He’s hoping for similar efforts with other parks — Wilbert said that he was working with a volunteer group that offered to adopt Lakeside Park. He said he would have more details for commissioners in the future.
Wilbert said a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new park would be held at 10 a.m. Friday.
All five commissioners attended the meeting. In other news, Pittsburg City Commissioners:
• held a study session focusing on the city’s 2010 budget. Commissioners will vote on the budget, which keeps the mill rate steady at 45.467 mills, at a future meeting. Overall property taxes should go down — Pittsburg’s estimated assessed valuation, minus exemptions, is expected to decrease by more than 5 percent.
Staff has had to cut close to $1.3 million out of the budget since the spring, with a large portion of that covered through leaving jobs unfilled. Jon Garrison, Pittsburg director of finance, said the city was down about 13 employees.
• approved the first reading of an ordinance to levying assessments for the Pittsburg State University Sanitary Sewer Improvements Project. The city may have to make changes, but those would be reflected on the second reading of the ordinance. A public hearing on the matter was extended until the next meeting, on Aug. 11.
• approved a resolution that would allow $200,000 for repairs to be made to Memorial Auditorium. Those repairs will focus on the building’s deteriorating stairs and façade wall.
Commissioners voted to amend the original resolution to take back money that could be used to fund the seats, citing the tight budget.
• approved a staff request to submit a KLINK Resurfacing project for funding for Fiscal Year 2012. If the application is approved, the city would then pave Broadway from Madison to Second Street. Bill Beasley, public works director, said that the project would connect previous projects to allow for new paving on Broadway from the south city limits to 11th Street.
The Kansas Department of Transportation would participate in 50 percent of the cost of construction and construction engineering for the projects, up to $200,000. The city would be responsible for any additional cost of a project that would exceed $400,000.
• approved multiple ordinances to levy special assessments against properties with nuisances.
Commissioner Marty Beezley expressed her disappointment with the assessments and suggested levying a heftier fine in the future. Beasley said that while the city typically lost money from taking care of the assessments, the city’s fines were typically three times the cost of what the property owner could find by hiring someone privately.
“We probably won’t see a lot of this money,” Beasley said. “If those people had pride, or the values, they would have paid before now.”
• approved an application, submitted by the Mirza Shrine, to transfer the Cereal Malt Beverage License from the Knights of Columbus to the Mirza Shrine Building, 110 W. Fifth St., for consumption on the premises from 10 a.m. until midnight Sept. 5.
• approved an agreement with CGI Communications, Inc. to produce a community video showcase to be placed on the city’s Web site, at no cost to the city.
• approved the first reading of an ordinance amending Pittsburg City Code to increase the overall length of the definition of a micro-utility truck to a maximum length of 160 inches.
• entered a 90-minute executive session regarding personnel matters of non-elected personnel.

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134.