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Applications Welcome for Arts Commission

The City of Osawatomie is seeking applicants for a newly established Arts Commission!

At the May 12th, 2022, regular meeting of City Council, the Governing Body approved a resolution outlining the establishment of a public arts commission to help develop and implement public art and arts-and-culture activities and programming within the City of Osawatomie.

City staff will be accepting applications for the seven-member Commission from interested residents until June 6th, 2022, and conducting brief interviews if the number of applicants necessitates additional review. The City’s Public Service Application is available for download below, or paper copies can be made available at City Offices at 439 Main Street. Completed applications should be returned via email to [email protected] or paper applications can be returned to City Offices.

For the purposes of the Commission’s studies and recommendations, public art and arts and culture shall mean:

Public Art: “Public art can express community values, enhance our environment, transform a landscape, heighten our awareness, or question our assumptions. Placed in public sites, this art is there for everyone, a form of collective community expression. Public art is a reflection of how we see the world – the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are.” (Association for Public Art)

Arts: A vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts.

Culture: A set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that define a group of people, such as the people of a particular region. Culture includes the elements that characterize a particular peoples’ way of life.

The goal of the Commission is to focus primarily on the introduction and implementation of public art projects and arts-and-culture projects within and around the City limits, and to develop public art projects that may also integrate with other public art projects, installations, or objectives in the region including the Kansas City metropolitan area and other urban, suburban, or rural centers.

As indicated by the resolution approved by City Council, the Arts Commission’s policy and procedure papers will be reviewed at the June 23rd, 2022, meeting of City Council with the papers approved and the Commission seated at the following meeting on July 7th, 2022.

Please contact the City’s Public Information Officer with questions or feedback regarding this new commission.

Proposed Code Change: 2018 Code Presentation

Director of Community Development Ed Beaudry hosted a town hall on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022 as part of a series of presentations regarding a proposed update to the building code. The presentation created by Beaudry can be found below, and a final version will also be shown to the City Council as part of the June 23rd meeting of the Governing Body.

Currently, the City of Osawatomie Building and Codes Department recognizes the 2006 International Codes and the 2005 National Electric Code. The department is proposing that Council adopt the 2018 International Codes and the 2017 National Electric Code to provide regional consistency (Miami County and Spring Hill are working on a similar adoption and Louisburg adopted the later versions in 2021), and to assist in the qualification for an improved ISO rating which would allow residents a savings on insurance premiums.

If you have feedback on the proposed changes, or questions regarding the Code or process, please contact Ed Beaudry directly.

Staff members from the Office of Rural Prosperity visited Osawatomie in April 2022.

ORP Mural Q + A

We hear there are some questions about the new mural going in… Let’s do a quick Q+A!


Q: Where did the money come from for this mural?

A: The City of Osawatomie applied for a grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity and the “Rural Mural” program — a pilot program from ORP designed to bring public art into rural communities. The City received $15,000 for the project and issued a call for applications; the award included all expenses for labor, equipment, supplies, etc.

Q: Did the City Council vote on the mural?

A: No, the City Council did not vote on the mural for the downtown. The City Council was made aware of the City’s application to the program and the subsequent award as part of continuing “Osawatomie 4.0” presentations at regular meetings throughout the year.

Q: Who is the mural committee?

A: The mural committee for this initial Office of Rural Prosperity Rural Mural grant was comprised of Chamber of Commerce Director Kari Bradley, Osawatomie High School art teacher Michaela Irwin, local business owner Jordy Goff of Our Clique Photography, Osawatomie Public Library Director Dr. Morgan Menefee, City Hall’s high school intern, and Assistant to the City Manager Sam Moon. An official Arts Commission will hopefully be established soon to assist with future public art projects.

Q: How many submissions did the committee receive?

A: The committee received 18 formal submissions of portfolios and approximately another 3-5 email or social media inquiries that didn’t complete the portfolio requirement. In total, there were over 200 pages of portfolio work submitted for review from a wide variety of artists including local and international talents.

Q: How did the committee pick this design?

A: The committee reviewed all submissions and selected four artists or teams believed to have had the best proven body of work to move into a finalist round. During the finalist round, the artists were asked to submit design ideas or framework (such as a rough pencil sketch, a few paragraphs about their design methodology or process, a digital rendering, a mood board, or any combination thereof etc.) so that the committee could better understand what their unique voice and vision could bring to the community. The committee then met again to review the finalist submissions and the green and yellow draft design by Hunter Sinclair Myers of Wichita’s Brickmob stood out from the pack. The unique graphic, pop-art style felt fresh, contemporary, and vibrant — the perfect complement to a reawakening downtown corridor!

Check out Brickmob’s portfolio here! They have a team of artists and designers who tag-team on murals of all sizes and styles, and a proven track record of great projects and professional experience.

Q: Why didn’t the award go to the school district for a student-led mural?

A: This mural is large-scale (nearly 40 feet high and 40 feet long) and needed a professional muralist with a proven body of work in exterior murals to lead the team, including examining the condition of the wall and recommending prep work (like tuckpointing or sealcoating) and coordinating equipment needs such as scissor lifts, commercial projectors, and access to the correct type of outdoor mural paint to ensure a long-lasting and vibrant final product. The OHS art teacher was a member of the selection committee and agreed that she and her students weren’t adequately equipped for such a task, especially in the middle of an already busy school year.

Student- and/or community-led murals are on deck for the next set of projects now that we better understand all that goes into starting and finishing a quality mural and have more time to prepare!

Q: Are you doing more murals?

A: Yes! The City of Osawatomie applied for and received a grant from the local Hawkins Foundation to install other smaller murals in the community. We’re looking forward to working with residents, students, and other members of the community on our future mural projects.

Q: How can I help with future projects?

A: Applications for the upcoming Arts Commission will be accepted from anyone in the community with a penchant for art, a desire to help create reimagined and interactive displays, or anyone who has a passion for our community culture. Keep an eye out for the application to open in coming weeks! We’d love the assistance of creative, engaged, and dedicated people for our next projects!

For more questions regarding this and upcoming public art projects, please contact the City of Osawatomie’s Public Information Officer.

Brown Avenue Street Repair Bid Awarded

The City of Osawatomie’s “Paving the Way” program is kicking into high gear this year with the first ground breaking in the highly-anticipated street repair and replacement project. At the April 14th, 2022, regular meeting of City Council, the Governing Body awarded the construction contract for Brown Avenue from 16th Street to 18th Street to low-bidder Killough Construction for $730,396.00.

Killough Construction is based out of Ottawa, Kansas and roadwork starts this summer on the full removal and asphalt replacement. The following table of tasks is the work plan for the remainder of tasks related to Brown Avenue’s repair plan. City staff is simultaneously continuing design work for the other streets slated for 2022 repair or replacement (Main Street Terrace from 18th Street to 16th Street, Walnut Avenue from 6th Street to 4th Street, 18th Street from Main Street to Brown Avenue).

Staff also continues to work on the designs for the streets in line for 2023 replacement, including the entire stretch of 6th Street from Lincoln to Kelly and Brown Avenue from 7th to 12th.

For more information on Paving the Way, visit the project’s main page.

Project Task ListEstimated Completion Date
Construction Contract AwardApril 2022 (Done)
Notice to Proceed for ConstructionJune 2022
Construction CompletionAugust 2022
This table outlines the remaining steps for the first section of Brown Avenue’s reconstruction plan.

John Brown Jamboree 2.0 Parade Signups Open Now

The 2022 John Brown Jamboree parade is scheduled for Thursday, June 16th, at 7:00pm. Like in previous years, the parade will run down Main Street from 1st to 12th and the public is invited to line the corridor and celebrate the community. The parade theme celebrates the history of the John Brown Jamboree festival, so break out the nostalgia and have fun! If you’re interested in participating in the 2022 parade, please fill out the form linked below.

REGISTER HERE

For more information on the rest of the planned festivities for John Brown Jamboree 2.0 in 2022, please visit them on Facebook or email members of the volunteer-based committee [email protected]

The John Brown Jamboree is part of the City of Osawatomie’s four Signature Events series, along with the Lights on the Lake, Freedom Festival, and Border War BBQ.

Lot and Alley Closed Due to Public Safety Concerns

The City of Osawatomie has closed a public parking lot and expanded the closure of the alleyway between Parker Ave and Main Street in the 500 block.

Due to the unexpected partial collapse of a building’s exterior wall facing the alley, a portion of the alley AND the entire public parking lot north of the 500 block of Main Street have been blocked off in the interest of public safety. The closures are indicated by yellow highlight below.

Residents visiting the post office are advised to use the Parker Avenue parking stalls until the lot is reopened. The alley has been partially closed for a few weeks now, but the area of closure has expanded. There will be no thru-access via the parking lot.

Staff is on-site and working with our team of engineers and contractors to determine the scope of work and damage. Please avoid the area.

Yard Maintenance Reminder for Homeowners and Tenants

Spring has sprung, and rain and warmer weather means the grass is growing! As we head outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather, our Code and Nuisance Department wants to remind everyone of their yard maintenance responsibilities. See the informational flyer below for more information and reminders about our City Code and resources available.

City Seeking Applicants for Public Works Director

The City of Osawatomie is seeking applicants for the position of Public Works Director due to the retirement announcement of the incumbent director. This position is full-time and eligible for full benefits including KPERS and ICMA retirements. The full job description can be downloaded here.

Job Description

The full job description can be downloaded here.

As a Department Director, the primary purpose of this position is to manage, plan, direct and review the daily activities and operations of Streets and Alleys, Parks and Cemeteries, Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance, Stormwater, and the Flood Protection System. Essential duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Plans, directs, and coordinates the activities of the Streets, Alleys, Parks, Lakes, Cemeteries, Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance, Stormwater, and Levee System
  • Establishes standards, plans, schedules, and procedures for operating, and maintaining the City’s Street and Alleys infrastructure and maintenance policies and procedures for Parks, Lakes, Cemeteries, Vehicles and Equipment, and Levees
  • Recruits, selects and supervises employees within the Departments
  • Attends City Council Meeting and advisory board meetings as needed and responds to questions and complaints from the General Public
  • Assist in developing the annual budgets and capital improvement needs in support of long-range planning of City capital improvement plans or initiatives for each department with assistance from the various departments, and collectively monitor the progress of the budget throughout each fiscal year
  • Hire, assign, supervise, and evaluate superintendents and other staff. Assist with hiring and evaluation of other City personnel and ensures that his/her and all employees under his/her direction, comply with the City’s Personnel and Policy Rules and Regulations, safety and security standards
  • Assists with City functions and special events and works on-call to handle emergency work as required or necessary
  • Works with Engineers on projects, with the objective of keeping projects on schedule, and within budget
  • Carefully monitor work done by outside firms, including engineers and contractors, to ensure the work being done is of high quality, and in the best interest of the city
  • Demonstrate continuous effort to improve operations, decrease turnaround times, streamline work processes, minimize over-time, and work cooperatively and jointly to provide high-quality customer service
  • Role model the values of the organization through example and accountabilities
  • Facilitate solutions to problems facing the departments
  • All other duties as assigned

The Public Works Director is an important leadership position with high levels of responsibility. The Public Works Director reports to the Deputy City Manager and works closely with other Department Directors on a number of critical infrastructure projects.

To Apply

Interested persons should send a PDF binder containing a cover letter, resume, and at least one letter of reference or recommendation to:

Samantha Moon
Assistant to the City Manager
[email protected]

The cover letter should include the applicant’s salary requirements and explain any gaps in employment or experience. Applicant binders are due no later than April 29th, 2022. The position will remain open until filled.

Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance Available

Emergency Rental Assistance remains available

More than $125 million in rental, utility assistance awarded

TOPEKA, Kan.— Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) funding remains available to support Kansans at risk of eviction. KERA provides rent, utility, and internet assistance to households that have experienced a financial hardship during the pandemic.

“More than a third of Kansans rent their homes, and many have struggled to cover rent and utility bills since the pandemic began,” said Ryan Vincent, Executive Director of Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), which administers the KERA program. “The financial repercussions are far from over for our most vulnerable families. This crucial assistance is still available to keep Kansans safely housed throughout our economic recovery.”

The KERA program has disbursed more than $125 million in rental, utility, and internet assistance to 17,633 eligible tenant households in Kansas. These funds have prevented 45,674 Kansans from experiencing evictions and utility disconnections and helped make 6,656 landlords whole.

One frontline worker described how KERA assistance kept her in stable housing during the pandemic. While on short-term work leave, she was unable to return to her health care job after twice contracting the virus. “I am beyond grateful for the rental and utility assistance provided by KERA while I recovered so I could get back to work,” she said.

The KERA program supports Kansas tenants and landlords experiencing financial hardship. Recent updates have made the program more inclusive, allowing the state to serve even more Kansans:

– Households that have experienced financial hardship at any time during the pandemic may now qualify for assistance.
– Eligible households may receive up to 18 months of assistance, an increase from the previous 15-month maximum.
– Eligible households may receive a lump sum of $900 in past-due or future internet assistance, an increase from the previous $750 limit.

Previous applicants who have not hit the 18-month maximum are eligible to recertify for additional months of assistance.
A Topeka property manager witnessed how KERA funding has helped both the complex and her tenants thrive in hard times. “Since emergency rental assistance has been available, we have provided KERA documents and Shawnee County income guidelines to any tenant that receives an eviction notice,” she said. “I tell tenants, ‘It’s always worth a shot to apply.’”

Tenants and landlords can apply jointly online via the KERA application portal. Tenants must answer pre-screening questions to determine their eligibility before accessing the application. KERA applicants must meet income guidelines and must provide:

– Proof of identification;
– A signed lease or equivalent documentation;
– Documentation or self-attestation of housing instability;
– Documentation or self-attestation of financial hardship; and
– Proof or self-attestation of household income.

Once an application has been submitted, households can track their application status and respond to communications by logging into their KERA dashboard. If applicants have additional questions, they can contact KERA customer service by emailing [email protected] or calling 785-217-2001, Option 1 for English; or Option 2 for Spanish.

KHRC launched the KERA program in March 2021 with funding provided by the Coronavirus Supplemental Relief Act of 2021. Continuing funding is provided through the American Rescue Plan Act. The measures have provided a combined $23.4 billion in emergency rental assistance to rental households nationwide, with nearly two-thirds of those funds serving extremely low-income households.

For more information and to apply, visit kshousingcorp.org/emergency-rental-assistance.

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Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) is a self-supporting, nonprofit, public corporation committed to helping Kansans access the safe, affordable housing they need and the dignity they deserve. KHRC serves as the state’s housing finance agency, administering essential housing and community programs to serve Kansans.

For more information on Kansas rental statistics, visit the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s report, Out of Reach 2021.

Questions? Contact us at [email protected].

City Announces New Childcare Taskforce, Invites Applicants

The City of Osawatomie is preparing a new taskforce, comprised of select staff members working with community partners and members of the public, to investigate and analyze the community’s possible response(s) to the nationwide childcare crisis.

This Childcare Taskforce will investigate the current childcare situation in the city of Osawatomie and surrounding regions, compare community needs to availabilities, research efforts and mitigation performed by other cities, and analyze or evaluate possible solutions within our community. The taskforce will plan to present their findings to the City Council no later than October 1st, 2022.

The eight-person taskforce will be comprised of three ex-officio (non-voting) members and five voting members appointed by the City Council. The five voting members must reside either within the Osawatomie city limits, within the Osawatomie School District (USD 367), or be employed by an Osawatomie-based business.

Interested? Please submit a Public Service Application to City Hall, or by email to [email protected], no later than Monday, April 4th, 2022. Brief interviews will be scheduled with applicants before the final slate of members is presented to the City Council for consideration and appointment on April 14th, 2022.

Contact Information

Kari Bradley
Business Liaison
City of Osawatomie
[email protected]
913-755-4114

Sam Moon
Assistant to the City Manager
City of Osawatomie
[email protected]
913-755-2146 x103