Cooper Group Prioritizes City's Issues
By Former Mayor
TO: Mayor Roger Reitz
In response to your request, we have studied eight topics: animal care,
child care, economic development, growth, historic preservation, medical
care, transportation and parks and recreation. As we understood, there were
two primary issues to consider for each topic: l) studies with proposed
actions taken and 2) priority position within the responsibilities of the
City of Manhattan. The resulting comments are based on the reviews
submitted by community leaders and our research, knowledge and experience.
A summary of each topic, group evaluations and citizen reviews are
We hope that this information will be helpful in making decisions for the
good of Manhattan.
C. Clyde Jones, T. William Varney, Richard Seidler, Barbara Withee, Helen
G. Cooper, Chair
GROUP STUDY OF SELECTED CITY OF MANHATTAN ISSUES
The mission statement of the City of Manhattan is:
“Manhattan is a diverse community whose commission/manager form of
government serves its residents and visitors by providing that which they
cannot provide by themselves alone. The mission of the City is to sustain
order and protect public safety, promote public health, preserve the built
and natural environment, and enhance economic vitality. The City of
Manhattan supports a regional community in which individuals and families
develop and thrive.” From 1999 Annual Operating Budget.
To carry out this mission, the City of Manhattan has needed significant
amounts of information to make good decisions. When the scope of a project
exceeds the expertise or human resources of the City staff, outside
professional assistance is obtained.
Over the years, a number of studies, reports, reviews and plans were
prepared in response to a variety of concerns. The documents usually
contained historical background, detailed information about conditions at
a particular time period, observations and short and long term
alternatives. The resulting actions in response to the conclusions of the
reports may have been: 1) no action, because resources were not available,
2) only short term alternatives were acceptable or possible to achieve, or
3) action was taken to complete short and long term options. Even if no
action was taken, the information gathered provided the basis for more
knowledgeable, reasoned decision making.
Some of the eight subjects in this report have had extensive studies
performed by professional consulting firms during the past; others are in
progress or are proposed; several have had less formal study or have been
mentioned in other reports or have been of interest to the community.
The suggestions in this report are based on the reviews of informed
community members (Attachment 2), City of Manhattan planning and budget
documents and the study (Attachment 1) and experience of this group. They
represent what is considered most reasonable for the near future, but do
not preclude other options as conditions change. It should also be noted
that these eight topics represent only a portion of the total concerns and
responsibilities of the City of Manhattan. They are to be considered in
conjunction with the overall mission of the City and current and future
commitments. A summary of each topic follows.
II: TOPIC SUMMARIES
A. ANIMAL SHELTER CARE
Animal shelter care has been provided to the City of Manhattan and Riley
County for many years. The facility was on the Sunset Zoo property until
the 1,900 sq.ft. T. Russell Reitz shelter was built in 1988 with public and
private funds (including contributions from Riley and Pottawatomie
Counties) in the industrial park. At that time about 600 animals were
handled per year. The current annual average is 2,000. The program has
been operated by the Riley County Health Department. The FY2000 operating
budget is $221,729, funded about 2/3 from Manhattan and the balance from
Riley County and user fees. Their mission is: “to protect the public's
health and property and to provide quality care, shelter and adoption
services for abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats.”
The Animal Shelter Steering Committee recently reviewed current conditions,
did a needs assessment and evaluated area animal holding facilities. They
identified needs for additional space for dog holding, isolation areas and
adoption functions. An “ultimate” building plan ($1.2 million) was
developed, with a scaled down version ($900,000) recommended that doubles
the size of the current facility.
Funding for the new construction and renovation will be $820,000 from the
City of Manhattan and $80,000 from the County/City Health department. There
are plans for private fund raising efforts for special needs.
Construction is to begin in 2000. The governance of the animal shelter by
the City of Manhattan is now being considered.
Proposed Future Actions
Animal care facilities are a service expected by the residents of the City
of Manhattan. Their importance may not be as high a priority as that for
medical and child care, but should continue to be supported as a service
for the overall welfare of the public.
1. The governance of the animal shelter should be under the City of
2. The mission statement should reflect that the facility will be supported
by public and private resources.
3. Services to citizens outside of Manhattan should be provided by fee or
4. The City and the Humane Society should be more aggressive in educating
the public on pet responsibility.
5. Existing animal care laws should be vigorously enforced.
There are a variety of private and public child care facilities and
services available in the City of Manhattan, including the Manhattan Day
Care and Learning Center that is operated with City and community
resources. This facility has been operating for thirty years and provides
care and education for 60 children, primarily from low income families.
Funding is mostly from the City (about $50,000/year) and United Way
contributions. The community has recognized the need for available,
affordable, high quality child care as an important element for the
educational experiences of children, employee performance, the reduction of
juvenile crime and child abuse and neglect.
There has been no comprehensive study of child care for Manhattan and Riley
County. A social services needs assessment completed in 1993 showed child
care as one of the top ten community needs. Recent statistics collected by
the Riley County Health Department indicate a possible shortage of over a
thousand child care spaces. The Early Care and Education Consortium,
comprised of representatives of corporate, educational and religious
organizations, identified infant and toddler needs to be the greatest.
There have been no changes in the City of Manhattan practices, nor has
there been any significant increase in licensed and registered programs.
One new program, “Family Connections” for 13 infants, has been developed
with State and Federal funds by the Riley County Health Department and Head
Proposed Future Actions
The availability of quality, affordable child care has an impact on the
lives of people and the community as a whole. It is a major quality of
life issue, ranking in importance with health care and education. This
should be in the forefront of City topics to pursue in the next few years,
especially as an accompaniment to economic development and growth.
1. Authorize the Early Care and Education Consortium to develop a plan for
improving access to quality, affordable child care for families in
Manhattan and Riley County. The plan should include cost estimates and
identify the roles of the City and County and other entities such as
schools, churches and major employers, especially at the two industrial
2. Encourage the investigation of Wharton Manor as a site for child focused
3. Consider ways to provide care choices such as a voucher system.
C: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The concern for the economic viability of the Manhattan community has had a
long history. The issues center on an adequate number of jobs, a variety
of types of employers and a thriving retail community. These are all
elements needed for economic stability and the enhancement of life quality.
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce has been the primary City agent for
economic development activities. The Chamber contract is funded from a one
mill property tax levy for industrial development. This fund source (about
$150,000/year) has not been adequate to provide financial incentives for
existing businesses to expand, or to encourage new businesses to locate
here. The Manhattan Town Center Mall, opened in 1988, was planned to
continue the downtown business area and to make it the heart of a regional
There have been no recent formal studies specifically on economic
development. However, in 1990 a document called “Vision 2000” produced with
the efforts of community leaders, pointed out areas of concern and
directions for future actions. Two major points were: l) the existing
business park on the east in Pottawatomie County had limited sites for new
industries and 2) the success or decline of our largest employers, Fort
Riley and Kansas State University, defined the economic decline or success
of our community. This concern was validated when military base closings
began and Fort Riley suffered a significant reduction. The draw down
affected employment, housing, schools and sales revenues. In 1993 the mayor
formed a task force to provide some suggestions for expanding our
non-governmental employment base. It suggested several alternatives
including the identification of a new business park in Riley County and a
sales tax for the expansion of industry and creation of jobs.
In 1994 a five year l/2 cent sales tax was approved by the electorate, with
the proceeds (about $10,000,000) to be used to add new businesses and jobs.
To date, the Manhattan Economic Development Fund Advisory Board (MEDOFAB)
has recommended (with City Commission approval) approximately $9,000,000 in
grants or loans to existing and new enterprises, with the potential for
1,600 new jobs. Remaining funds are now limited.
In addition, a corporate technology park site west of the airport was
purchased in 1997. It currently has three new industries. A “Downtown
Tomorrow” plan, which will update the 1983 “Central Business District
Redevelopment” plan, is in the process of being formulated by a steering
committee. Its purpose is to review previous goals and objectives and to
develop and implement new programs to enhance the vitality of the city core
Proposed Future Actions
1. Develop a comprehensive plan for sustained future economic development,
including funding sources.
2. Continue to refine the MEDOFAB guidelines for the use of public
3. Continue to contract with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce for
economic development promotion.
4. There should be a greater synergism between those planning physical
growth and those promoting economic development; growth and development
policies must also address quality of life issues.
5. A task force or council, made up of a broad range of individuals,
representing both the public and private sector, should be established to
envision the future of Manhattan for the next decade.
6. Continue to encourage the growth of existing businesses and the
development of local enterprises.
7. Economic development, integrated into the broader planning model, should
remain a high priority for the City.
Population and housing statistics indicate that the City of Manhattan has
had a relatively slow, steady growth pattern. In 1999, with a population of
over 42,000 and an assessed valuation of $180,947,529, it ranked in the
middle of the 24 first class cities in Kansas.
The Land Use Master Plan, with corresponding infrastructure plans, has been
the primary document defining growth direction and type. A 1979 version,
updated in 1991, carries forward many of the preceding concepts. The major
focus has been on slow, orderly, controlled growth. Some outward growth
limitations are: the flood plain areas on the south and east, Fort Riley on
the west and areas to the north outside of the range for sewer and water.
Rejuvenation and preservation of older neighborhoods has been addressed to
some degree. At times conditions outside of the community, such as the
downsizing at Fort Riley, have affected the rate and type of change.
The City of Manhattan has expanded utilities in accordance with the Land
Use Plan. Development has taken place to the northeast, west and
northwest. Residential and commercial growth has been primarily market
driven, following the public investment in infrastructure. Based on the
City’s ten year average growth rate year, there is sufficient
infrastructure in place to support growth in the Eureka Valley and
Northview areas for at least the next ten years. The six year capital
improvement plan continues to address these needs. There has been
significant privately funded in-fill and rejuvenation projects downtown and
throughout the City. Although commercial sites are limited, the growing
community market continues to attract national commercial chains and local
business expansion. The Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board is gathering
input from the public in preparation for revising current growth policies.
Proposed Future actions:
There are many opinions on how, where and how quickly the City should
grow. However, there appears to be citizens consensus that the community
should grow in a slow, controlled, orderly rate to retain its stability and
1. Revise the Comprehensive Land Use Plan to reflect new trends and issues
not adequately addressed and that will be in the best long term interests
of the City.
2. Support development in areas where infrastructure investment has been
3. Identify additional sites for retail and service businesses.
4. Encourage public/private investment for infill and rehabilitation
projects especially in the older areas of the city.
E: HISTORIC PRESERVATION
The Manhattan community has participated in the preservation of some
historic sites such as the Goodnow House, Wolf House, Anderson Hall, and
the Union Pacific Railroad Depot. However, the attempt to protect some
historic sites and maintain older neighborhoods has been sporadic and
minimal. A Historic Review Board was responsible for evaluating changes to
the downtown area. No City general funds have been expended directly for
historic preservation. Public funds have been used for the renovation and
addition to City Hall and to Riley County administrative buildings in the
No formal studies related to historic preservation have been completed.
However, the City has collected some information and more is available from
the Riley County Historical Society and Kansas State University. The
Manhattan Preservation Alliance, Inc., made up of interested citizens, was
formed in 1994 to foster preservation of the community's built environment.
There has been continued concern about both the deterioration of older
structures and the preservation of buildings with historic significance.
The Historic Resources Board was established by City Ordinance #6065 in
April, 1999. Some of its goals are: to provide a mechanism for
identifying historic resources, fostering civic pride, improving property
value and enhancing the attractiveness of the City to residents, visitors
and shoppers. The Manhattan Register of Historic Places has been
established to provide a nomination process for the placement of structures
and sites on the city register. A Heritage Trust Funds grant has been
received for improvements to the Union Pacific Depot. There has been a
minimal effort to promote historic community sites. The “Downtown Tomorrow”
plan includes preservation as an important element for the viability of the
Proposed Future Actions:
Maintaining the historic integrity of our community can foster civic pride
and provide economic advantages. These elements are intertwined with and
can enhance growth, economic development and quality of life.
1. Develop strong but not burdensome policies, ordinances and plans to
encourage historic preservation and revitalization.
2. Identify and publicize incentives that would interest private
3. Obtain professional preservation planning assistance as needed.
4. Expand Chamber promotion of historic sites.
The City of Manhattan had two hospitals for over sixty years. However, it
was not until 1996 that the two merged into Mercy Health Center, with two
campuses. There are over 100 physicians in a large variety of
specialties. These medical resources provide services to Manhattan/Riley
County and other nearby counties. The City of Manhattan has had no direct
expenditure for the promotion or support of community medical care, with
the exception of contributions to the Manhattan/Riley County Department of
There has been no City sponsored study of medical care. The hospital
administrations, Chamber of Commerce and portions of various documents have
provided some of the statistics related to medical care. Vision 2000 and
other reports have included the availability of good medical care as an
important consideration for economic development, growth and quality of
Mercy Health Center has started an expansion and renovation project for
the College Avenue campus. An agreement has also been reached with a
separate organization to build a surgical center adjacent to the hospital.
The Sunset Avenue campus will continue to remain open, although some space
may be made available for the Kansas State Student Health Center. A Joint
Project task force of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and the Community
Health Council are charged with finding an insurance program that would
provide reasonably priced, flexible health insurance coverage for small
employers. A Federal grant has been received to work toward the
regionalization of health care services.
Proposed Future Actions:
The availability of good quality local/regional medical care has a large
impact on everyone. It is not just an economic benefit or convenience. It
provides a sense of security and confidence for current residents,
potential new arrivals and those in surrounding communities.
1. Allocate additional funds to the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to
promote Manhattan as a regional health care center.
2. Foster cooperation among the City, Riley County, USD #383 and Kansas
State University to develop other health care related functions for Mercy
Health Center at Sunset and Wharton Manor.
3. Encourage and support private investment in medical and related
G: PARKS AND RECREATION
The citizens of Manhattan have historically supported a strong parks and
recreation system. This has included both the provision of adequate,
quality facilities and a variety of sports, exercise and arts programs for
people of all ages especially youth. Currently there are three major
sites, City Park, CiCo Park, Anneberg Park, and twenty-two neighborhood or
special facility sites. Operating expenses and capital improvements for
1999 are estimated at $4,234,000, 8% of the total City budget. The four
year average has been 8.25%.
Various individual park master plans have been completed with the
assistance of consultants during the past several years. Parks and
recreation related projects and expenditures, based on these studies, have
been a regular part of annual budgets for many years. A study of the need
for an indoor facility is in progress. Other past fund sources for large
acquisitions or additions have included a Quality of Life Bond issue, Riley
County, USD 383 and gift funds.
In 1999 the City Commission accepted a $22,500,000 strategic park plan
without making a commitment to implementation. The plan includes major
renovations to existing facilities, the addition of new parks and the
construction of an indoor recreation facility. However, the FY2000 CIP
budget provides only $50,000 for major park improvements.
Proposed Future Actions
The parks and recreation programs are positive attributes of the City of
Manhattan and have strong community support.
1. Promptly seek citizen input and consensus relating to the 1999 strategic
2. Continue to maintain and improve existing facilities at a high level of
3. Develop parks in already developed areas.
4. Acquire park sites in potential development areas
5. Cooperate or collaborate with public and private sector whenever
The overall transportation systems for Manhattan have grown in size, but
not necessarily in variety. Public roadways, bike paths, sidewalks and
airports have provided circulation ways for pedestrian, bicycle, private
vehicle and air transportation. Public mass transit, trolley, bus and
train, are not currently available. The City has funded a taxi coupon
program for low income citizens. There are a number of private or publicly
funded systems for special populations such as the elderly or handicapped.
Local, State, Federal and private funds have been used to maintain existing
No previous comprehensive transportation studies have been completed
exclusively for Manhattan. Elements relating to transportation appear in
Vision 2000, City staff assessments, airport study and the Comprehensive
Land Use Plan. Recommendations from these sources have been implemented as
a part of the annual CIP budget. Kansas State University studies in the
past ten years focused primarily on parking issues. The private vehicle is
the most prevalent means of transportation.
Improvements to roadways, sidewalks and bikeways continue to be a part of
the City budget. A comprehensive plan called “Manhattan Area Transportation
Strategy: Connecting to 2020 (MATS) will be completed in the near future.
Its purpose is to l) provide a multi-modal transportation component to the
Comprehensive Land Use Plan, 2) meet federal requirements for urban
transportation planning, 3) include integration with KSU transportation
Proposed Future Actions
There is public support for multi-modal transportation planning and
investment. However, if any or all of an estimated $125,000,000 expenditure
in the next twenty years is to be made to implement a proposed MATS plan,
there needs to be more information, understanding and consensus building,
especially for a mass transit system.
1. Maintain and upgrade roadways, intersections, pedestrian ways and
2. Develop short term strategies to meet the needs of the elderly,
handicapped, low income, and those without transportation. Maximize use of
existing equipment, personnel and funds. Include possible public/private
3. Establish a policy for sidewalks on both sides of streets in new
4. Establish advisory groups to evaluate each MATS major transportation
strategy for maximum services needed, reasonable costs and acceptable
III PRIORITY POSITIONS
The group is in general agreement that each one of the issues is important
and that the assignment of ranking should not imply that only the top
issues should be addressed. However, the scope and degree of impact on
citizens and City of Manhattan resources varies. It also is apparent that
some of the issues have broad implications both from the perspective of
interrelationships and of the time frame in which the issues are
Priority 1: All-encompassing, interrelated, ongoing issues which impact
individuals and the viability of the City as a whole. Must continue to
address all aspects, including planning and implementation.
Growth - Policies and plans define the framework and direction for the
City's future. Requires leadership and long term commitments.
Economic Development - Has a broad, on-going impact on the economic welfare
of the community as a whole. Requires significant commitment of financial
resources that are not now available.
Transportation Infrastructure- Represents a long term financial investment
and important resource for essentially all segments of public and private
Priority 2: More limited scope issues with some interrelationships and
impact on quality of life. Require continued commitment in leadership
and/or financial resources.
-Parks & Recreation
-Transit System (Transportation)