City approves one-night alcohol consumption at Lagoon

Vincent Marshall

Temporary alcohol consumption at Long Branch Lagoon was discussed during Monday’s Dodge City Commission meeting.

According to city commissioners, Stanguard Aquatics, operators of the Lagoon approached the city about offering adult night swim events, and as part of that, they requested a permit for cereal malt beverages.

"They have done this previously," said assistant city manager Melissa McCoy. "With city parks and recreation they evaluated that and also reached out to the Ford County health director to discuss concerns.

"At this time, based on our current situation in Ford County and also the regulations that we do not have in place, they did not have any concerns."

According to McCoy, the swim event would be set for Aug. 8.

"My thought process is this," Commissioner Brian Delzeit said. "We won't have to reevaluate this prior to Aug. 8 if our (COVID-19) cases go up because we will shut the Lagoon down."

Commissioner Rick Sowers and Mayor Joyce Warshaw raised concerns on approving anything far out from an event date because of the state of Kansas overall having an increase in case numbers even if the numbers in Ford County have remained small.

"By keeping things open, what could we be allowing coming into our communities if we keep things the same," Warshaw said.

Sowers added that by having some of the Dodge City Days events, it would allow potential cases to come into the community.

"The risk versus reward in this is you are going to be serving alcohol, that risk we are putting our community into jeopardy for is not worth the risk," Sowers said.

Sowers said that currently Ford County has had 13 deaths related to COVID-19 "and we're not taking any action. I am tired of having to wear this mask, but we need to mask up, we need to get this done and over with.

"If we continue to drag this on with events like this at the Lagoon and events during Dodge City Days, we're never going to get unmasked."

Commissioner Joseph Nuci said that based on discussions with Ford County health adviser Dr. R.C. Trotter and the Ford County health director, it is safe and the numbers are trending downward.

"How is that going to change or affect our numbers?" Nuci said. "If you can go to a restaurant and order a drink to go, and this is an adult event for adults only, you have to be 21 or older so there won't be kids at this event.

"So there is a very limited number, and the ones you are worried the most about are the children, but this one thing we are dealing with now is alcohol for the water park, not Dodge City Days or anything else.

"I am not going to sit here and bag on people not wearing their mask when it's their right to not wear their mask."

The Lagoon has been having swim nights leading up to the request to have a one-night-only alcohol event.

"This is not going to have any effect whether alcohol is served or not," Delzeit said. "This is the same if people go to the race track with social distancing. We go shopping. I don't know where this stops.

"Alcohol doesn't spread the disease. Are we going to tell restaurants they can't serve alcohol? No. The problem is what Mayor Warshaw said — people have got to do their part."

Commissioner Kent Smoll said based on theory presented by Sowers, the pool shouldn't have opened at all.

"We have been fortunate to not have any cases from the pool," Smoll said. "I would rather see us put a limit on the number of people that attend and it's an area you can control.

"The right answer is we can't say you can't come, the right answer is you need to be responsible. Stanguard is there to enforce social distancing and encourage the social distancing and I guarantee that's going to be a lot safer place than the rodeo grounds with 2,000 people sitting in the stands."

Commissioners approved the temporary alcohol consumption at Long Branch Lagoon on Aug. 8, with attendance to the event at a controlled number of 100 participants.

Nuci, Delzeit and Smoll were “yes” votes on the Lagoon event taking place with alcohol and limited participants. Warshaw and Sowers were "no“ votes.

The event passed with a 3-2 vote.

Dodge City commissioners approved the issuance of general obligation bonds for the levy and collection of an annual tax for the purpose of paying the principal and interest on said bonds.

The amount of the bonds is approximately $4,225,000 to go toward the cost of asphalt street projects, such as 14th Avenue and McArtor Road improvements, Trail Street widening and improvements and design, refinancing of the temporary notes for the Wagon Wheel 2 infrastructure, and the YMCA improvements.

According to city officials, the bonds will be issued in a public sale with bids tabulated upon request.

According to city finance director Nicole May, the interest rates for the bonds will be 1.41%.

"That is the lowest I think I've ever seen a bid," city manager Nick Hernandez said.

According to May, the issuance of this debt is necessary to fund street improvement projects, fund the improvements at Hennessey Hall and YMCA, fund the infrastructure for Wagon Wheel III and fund the loan to Boot Hill Museum to finish the exhibits.

For the issuance of temporary notes for Hennessey Hall, YMCA, Wagon Wheel III and Boot Hill Museum, a resolution was approved in an amount not to exceed $1,250,000 for one series and an amount not to exceed $1,390,583 in another series of temporary notes.

Both resolutions were approved with a 5-0 vote.

Commissioners also approved a five-year warranty with Pavers, Inc. to repair the pop-outs on reconstructed runway 14/32 at Dodge City Regional Airport.

According to public works superintendent Corey Keller, in the summer of 2019, the city noticed numerous pop-outs in the reconstruction.

"We determined that some additional warranty to cover the repairs of those pop-outs," Keller said.

According to Keller, a pop-out occurs when the surface piece of the concrete breaks free. Typically there is debris that can be sucked into plane engines and cause damage.

"Most of the pop-outs have already been repaired," Keller said. "We still are seeing pop-outs occur, but not at the level they had occurred at first."

Commissioners approved the warranty with a 5-0 vote.

An installation of four LED street lights in the Wagon Wheel III subdivision was also approved in the amount of $31,932.30.

According to city director of engineering Ray Slattery, the installation quote from Victory Electric will be part of the construction currently underway at the new sub-division that requires the street lights.

They will be installed at Anna Avenue at the two cul-de-sacs, at the southern bend of Anna Avenue and the Anna Avenue and Barbara Lane intersection.

Commissioners approved the street light installation with a 5-0 vote.

A plat for Industrial Park Tract 4 was also approved by commissioners that will allow zoning regulations and sub-divisions for the plat to be zoned I-2 heavy industrial.

Previously the zone was unplatted, according to city planning and zoning administrator Nathan Littrell.

"The Planning Commission met on July 14 and reviewed and voted to approve this plat," Littrell said. "It is also city staff recommendation to approve this plat."

The plat zoning was approved with a 5-0 vote.

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