Alva Review-Courier -

AAHN'S Place wants to convert old Guest Lodge motel into a boys home

• Engineer Johnson gives update on major water main transmission line replacement project


The Kiowa City Council had a full agenda at their May 11 regular meeting. However, they got all their business conducted in under an hour. All members were present when Mayor Bill Watson called the meeting to order: President R.L. Simpson, B.J. Duvall, Brian Hill, Jason Thayer and Tom Wells. City Administrator Rusty Varnado was seated at his place as was City Clerk Trish Brewer. Several guests were seated in the spacious public area and recited the Pledge of Allegiance with council before Simpson offered a word of prayer.

Of utmost importance to the kids of Kiowa and their parents, is the swimming pool. Varnado said the city awaits Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly “to allow us to open” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The pool will not be open Memorial weekend unless the governor makes a surprise announcement.

With the pool not yet open, the council voted to compensate the pool manager and some lifeguards with other city jobs until the pool opens. Varnado said Tuesday that the pool manager is working in the city office and the lifeguards are mowing.

Via Zoom online meeting technology, BG Consultant Sam Johnson updated the council on the major water transmission line replacement project from the water wells south of Sharon down Tri-City Road to Hazelton. Johnson said he is still working through the easements of landowners along Tri-City Road. Johnson said he's 85 percent through the process. He awaits a couple of easements that are tied up in trust or probate issues and said, “It's a long process.”

Johnson said the financial end of the project is with the USDA. The railroad permit and insurance is sent in to where it needs to be. Because of delays, Johnson anticipates it will be in the August time frame before they can advertise the project.

More City of Kiowa Business

The council approved the following biennial appointments: Richard Bedford, municipal judge; Trish Brewer, city clerk; Brandon Ritcha, city attorney; Travis Petersen, police chief; Bill Duvall, fire chief.

The police department received permission to sell an old taser they no longer need to the Harper County Sheriff's Department for $250. The fire department has their new truck. The council approved the fire department selling their old truck outright for $2,500.

Regarding utility cutoff dates, late notices are sent out on the 10th of the month.

In the budget the council allowed $125,000 for the purchase of a new trash truck. The council will solicit bids for a new trash truck.

Under staff reports City Superintendent John Duvall said they were starting to fog for mosquitoes the next day. The police chief mentioned that there are numerous yards that need mowed.

Varnado reminds people to fill out the 2020 Census. It's important for you to be counted as results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade.

At the end of the meeting the council held a brief executive session. Varnado said no action was taken upon return to open session.

AAHN'S Place Director Addresses Council About Locating in Kiowa

Derrick Prichard, owner/director of AAHN'S Place at Wellington, Kansas, spoke during the public comment period. He would like to open a foster care facility in Kiowa that targets boys age 13-18. He would like to remodel the former Guest Lodge motel in Kiowa to make a maximum 12-bed facility.

Prichard has a 28-bed facility in Wellington where he said he's had “a good response” since opening in April 2018. He said the Kiowa facility would create approximately 20 jobs and a monthly payroll of “approximately $25,000-$30,000.”

The boys would be placed by foster care agencies in the state of Kansas, Prichard said. He added that the boys would have supervision 24-7.

When asked, Prichard said that AAHN'S Place is a “for-profit LLC with a non-profit foundation.”

Immediately following Prichard's presentation, South Barber USD 255 Dr. Mylo Miller stood at the podium to ask some questions and make some statements about the proposal. “We have a wonderful relationship with the Freedom Gates Boys Ranch (at Hazelton),” Dr. Miller said.

The superintendent said he knows that AAHN'S Place takes a lot of community support. “That could be a strain,” on the Kiowa-area community, he said. “I'm not sure we're equipped to handle the strain.” He said it's hard to find enough paras for the school. Dr. Miller said he spoke to the superintendent at Wellington Schools. He questions why Prichard selected Kiowa as a possible location for AAHN's Place.

Since this council meeting, Dr. Miller called for a town hall meeting regarding AAHN'S Place. It will be Monday, June 1, at 6 p.m. at Kiowa's Community Building. Varnado made it clear that this is NOT a city council meeting.


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