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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Transportation project discussed by MARC officials

  • Lansing City Council members learned a little more about the Mid American Regional Council and its transportation projects during a regular meeting Thursday.
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  • Lansing City Council  members learned a little more about the Mid American Regional Council and its transportation projects during a regular meeting Thursday.
    MARC's executive director, David Warm, and the director of transportation, Mel Henderson, provided an overview of the organization as well as some specifics about transportation. Warm described MARC as a "council of local governments" in the Kansas City area, sort of a "regional planning council." It exists, he said, to help pull the community together and provides a way for the local governments to access federal funding and other resources. It encompasses a nine-county area, including three Kansas counties. There are 120 cities in the nine-county two-state organization.
    Elected officials from the various entities comprise MARC members. While transportation is a key area, Warm said MARC also has other facets. It operates a regional ride-share program, provides the technology for Operation Green Light, which helps fund and plan more than 700 intersections and it also emphasizes safety and environmental protection, including stormwater issues.
    Energy efficiency and public safety (the 911 system) and homeland security are still other projects.
    Henderson said MARC had been labeled a Metropolitan Planning Organization in the early 1970s when interstate highways were the major issue.
    Now, he noted, the transportation system has many owners but it is used as one system so the idea is to plan so that it will work efficiently.
    The 2010 plan identified what MARC members plan to do, including future forecasts and future revenues, and is in essence a long-range transportation plan, he said.
    Warm said communities such as Lansing that identify their projects using MARC's criteria are typically more successful in securing transportation funds. Council members had several questions. Councilman Dave Trinkle asked whether MARC had resources that would help senior citizens, and Warm said he would provide Administrator Mike Smith with a list of resources. Councilwoman Andi Pawlowski asked if multi-jurisdictional projects were more successful, and Henderson said they get extra points because of that.
    She also asked about future funding, and Henderson said it will be a challenge to keep it funded at the current level, at least without coming up with a means for additional revenues.
       In other business Thursday, the council:
    • Heard an update on the Human Resource department from HR director Sunshine Petrone.
    • Heard a brief presentation from Amanda Sellers, a Lansing High School senior and Girl Scout, about her Gold Award project. She and her troop painted a number of park benches and the concession stand and also provided a sign for a city trail, under the guidance of Parks and Recreation Director Jason Crum.  Crum praised her work and the work of the troop.
    • Mayor Billy Blackwell presented a certificate of appreciation from the Veterans Day Parade Committee to council members Don Studnicka, Dave Trinkle and Gene Kirby, who he said routinely support the Veterans Day Parade.
    • Voted 7-0 to reappoint Jeff Klemp to the Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 Board. Council member Kerry Brungardt was absent.
    • Voted 7-0 to reappoint Derrick Robinson, Mike Williams, Garrett Martin, Michelle Briggs and Barbara Hindman to the Lansing Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
    • Voted 7-0 to reappoint Kevin Gardner and Kevin Jensen to the Lansing Tree Board.
    • Voted 7-0 to grant a request to use Kenneth Bernard Park after hours in February for the Kaw District Klondike Derby. The use would be from 4 p.m. on Feb. 21 to 1 p.m. on Feb. 23.
    • The approval was contingent on all release of liability and agreement to indemnify forms are turned in by Feb. 3. The request was made by Nils Erickson.
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