An issue that has arisen between the county and city of Leavenworth regarding a parking lot at the Justice Center may be resolved when a building committee meets next week.
At issue is how many spaces will be set aside for the Leavenworth Police Department in a new parking lot the county is constructing next to the Justice Center. The lot is being built at the site of the former Leavenworth County Jail, which recently was demolished.
Leavenworth County commissioners discussed the issue last week when they met with Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens.
And the issue came up again when county commissioners met Monday morning. Commissioner Clyde Graeber noted a meeting of the Justice Center's building committee has been scheduled for Oct. 29 to discuss parking. Graeber serves on the committee.
The Justice Center houses the Leavenworth Police Department, Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office, current county jail, Leavenworth County District Court and other agencies.
The new parking lot is designed to have 38 spaces, two of which will be for handicap parking. However, commissioners have discussed adding a Third Street entrance to the lot, which would reduce the number of spaces by three. Such a change to the design also could increase the cost of the project by more than $15,000.
The current design would allow access from vehicles turning onto the Justice Center property from Second Street.
Kitchens has asked that 16 spaces in the new lot be set aside for Leavenworth Police Department use.
He said the Police Department has used the area around the old jail for parking since moving the Justice Center in 2000.
Commissioners said last week that the new lot had been intended for public parking and expressed concern about the county paying for a lot that will be used to large degree by the city Police Department.
Commissioner Dennis Bixby suggested Thursday to Kitchens that a good starting point for the city would be paying the additional cost for a Third Street entrance to the parking lot.
A 1999 county and city agreement regarding the operation of the Justice Center states that the county "shall also provide adequate secured parking spaces for the Leavenworth Police Department fleet and reasonable parking space for city employees."
"Adequate is a pretty fuzzy word," Bixby said Monday. "We need to define that."
He also said the "reasonable parking" requirement for city employees doesn't state where the parking has to be located.
The 1999 agreement also established the seven-member Justice Center building committee. Under the agreement, one of the functions of the committee is having "final authority of dispute resolution between occupants."
Bob Holland, chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission, said Thursday that he was surprised to learn the committee has final say on such issues.
Page 2 of 2 - Bixby questioned whether the Police Department needs a number of spaces that is equal to the number of vehicles in its fleet. Bixby said the department probably always has some of its vehicles on patrol.
Holland suggested that as the city grows, so will the Police Department's fleet.
"Pretty soon the city will have the whole parking area," he said.
Graeber said he would like for County Administrator Pat Hurley to attend the Oct. 29 meeting of the Justice Center building committee.
Hurley said he can attend but he won't have a vote on the committee.
"But I need your comments," Graeber said.
Holland said he also would be happy to attend.
Bixby said he will be out of town that day.