The construction of a new parking lot at the Justice Center will proceed as currently designed. A plan for the assignment of spaces in the new lot will be completed at a future date.

The construction of a new parking lot at the Justice Center will proceed as currently designed. A plan for the assignment of spaces in the new lot will be completed at a future date.

That was the decision Monday of the Leavenworth County Commission.

The parking lot, which is being constructed at the site of the old Leavenworth County Jail, has been the source of contention in recent weeks between county and city of Leavenworth officials.

A request was made for 16 spots to be set aside for the Leavenworth Police Department. Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens has argued the Police Department in the past has parked in the area in the old jail, which was demolished before work began on the new lot. County commissioners have expressed reservations about setting aside that number of spaces for the city's Police Department in a lot that's being paid for by the county government.

The Justice Center houses the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office, Leavenworth Police Department, Leavenworth County District Court and other entities. The new lot is being constructed to the north of the building.

Last week, a building committee for the Justice Center voted to recommend that 15 spots be designated for the Police Department.

Some design changes to the lot also have been discussed in recent weeks.

Monday, public works officials presented three options for county commissioners.

One option would be to leave the site of the old jail as green space, with parking being shifted to existing lots around the Justice Center. County Public Works Director Mike Spickelmier said about $50,000 worth of work that's already been performed to prepare the site for a parking lot would be lost if commissioners picked this option.

Another option called for the completion of the lot as already designed.

And the third option was a redesign of the lot according to a proposal offered during last week's building committee meeting by Leavenworth City Commissioner Larry Dedeke.

"That would have additional cost," County Administrator Pat Hurley said.

John Forslund, the county's director of buildings and grounds, said it's estimated that such changes would result in about $2,500 in additional design work and about $77,000 for additional construction work.

Commissioners decided to go with the second option of completing the parking lot as currently designed.

"We will never get the parking lot cheaper than we will today," Spickelmier said.

He said completing the lot as already designed was the most cost effective option.

A public works briefing report that had been prepared for Monday's meeting indicated that under this option parking spaces for judges, other court personnel, the county attorney's office and the county appraiser could be moved to the new lot. This would free up spaces in existing lots to provide additional parking for the Leavenworth Police Department.

During the meeting, however, Spickelmier said a parking management plan has not yet been developed.

County Commissioner Dennis Bixby suggested the new lot can be closed during certain hours of the day to prevent vehicles being parked there for extended periods of time.

Under a 1999 agreement, the county is supposed to provide adequate parking for the Leavenworth Police Department's fleet of vehicles. But Hurley suggested the county can provided the necessary parking for the Police Department in places other than the new lot.

If city officials want exclusive parking spaces in the new lot, an agreement can be worked out in which the city could be asked to pay a per unit cost for the spaces, County Counselor David Van Parys said.

County commissioners unanimously approved proceeding with the construction of the new parking lot as designed.

This design does not include a Third Street entrance, which is something that had been discussed. People entering the new lot will turn off of Second Street onto the Justice Center property and pass through existing parking areas.

A letter prepared after Monday's meeting indicates a "parking lot assignment plan, to include hours and accessibility, for the parking lots at the Justice Center" will be developed. The letter was addressed to the Leavenworth city manager and the judge who serves as chairman of the Justice Center building committee. The letter was signed by Bob Holland, chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission.