City approves rezoning of Cushing property

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met this week, Leavenworth city commissioners approved the rezoning of the former Saint Luke's Cushing Hospital property.

The hospital, which was established in 1894, previously operated as a legal-nonconforming property under city regulations. Commissioners voted Tuesday to rezone the property at 711 Marshall St. from a high density single family residential district to a general business district.

The rezoning was approved as commissioners took a final vote on an ordinance that first was presented to them May 25.

The hospital closed in October, and the property was donated to the county government. County officials requested the rezoning for the property.

County officials have expressed plans to move the Council on Aging and possibly other county offices to the former hospital building.

The Board of County Commissioners also has entered into a lease agreement with Signature Behavioral Hospital Operations. The company will use a portion of the first floor and entire third floor of the old Cushing building for a for-profit psychiatric hospital. The agreement also gives the company right of first refusal for leasing the fourth floor.

Before Tuesday's vote on the rezoning ordinance, Mayor Pro-Tem Camalla Leonhard noted that she is employed by the Council on Aging, which is a county agency.

Having consulted with the city attorney, Leonhard said she could vote on the matter as long she disclosed that she is a county employee. Leonhard said she had not prejudged the rezoning application.

The ordinance passed unanimously.

In other business

The Leavenworth City Commission:

• Approved a bid from J.M. Fahey Construction, Grandview, Missouri, in the amount of $1.87 million for mill and overlay work on various streets.

• Approved a bid from Kaaz Construction, Leavenworth, in the amount of $149,696 for various sidewalk improvements.

• Approved a sole source contract with Hoidale, Shawnee, in the amount of $38,357 for the replacement of a fuel dispenser system at the city's municipal airport, which is located at Sherman Army Airfield at Fort Leavenworth.

The airport's fuel dispenser system was damaged in 2019 during a flood.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has awarded the city a grant, which will pay up to $35,550 of the cost of the project.

• Approved an ordinance to authorize a special use permit for a child care center at 2137 Birch St.

• Voted to proceed with the demolition of a house at 504 Miami St., which commissioners deem to be dangerous.

• Reached a consensus to advance an ordinance for the adoption of a new comprehensive plan for the city. The ordinance will be brought back to commissioners during a future meeting for a final vote.