The city of Shawnee is a step closer to having a new permanent city manager.
The City Council voted unanimously Monday to choose executive recruitment firm Springsted Waters to conduct the search for a replacement for former City Manager Carol Gonzales.
Gonzalez stepped down last fall to join the staff of the Mid-America Regional Council. City council members appointed Vicki Charlesworth as interim city manager in November.
Under the firm’s proposal, Springsted will handle advertising for the city manager position, screen the applicants, conduct background checks and identify a group of finalists, who the council will then interview before selecting one for the job.
The firm estimates the city will be able to hire the new city manager by early May.
Springsted, which is based in St. Paul, Minn., was one of 11 firms that answered the city’s request for proposals. While Mayor Michelle Distler must still negotiate a final agreement, the firm has said the process will cost $24,500.
In other business, the council voted to approve an agreement with BNSF Railway Corp. to permanently close the railroad crossing at 55th Street, the last step to create a “quiet zone,” silencing train horns along the Emporia Subdivision rail line that runs through Shawnee.
The city has been pursuing a quiet zone in the area for about a decade. The Emporia line carries about 89 trains per day.
As part of the agreement, the city had to buy a piece of land east of the railroad crossing and put up concrete barriers to permanently block the road. The land cost $306,525, part of which will be offset by $22,500 in incentive payments from BNSF and the Kansas Department of Transportation, which provide assistance for cities closing public crossings.
The council also unanimously approved issuing up to $48 million in private activity revenue bonds for the Westbrooke Green redevelopment project at the northeast corner of West 75th Street and Quivira Road. The bonds will allow the developers of the project to buy construction materials without having to pay sales tax, an incentive estimated to save the project more than $3 million.
The developers, not the city, is responsible for paying back the bonds.
The council voted in December to approve the $113 million mixed-use development, which will replace the current Westbrooke Village shopping center with 530 residential units and 108,500 square feet of space for restaurants and stores.
David Twiddy: email@example.com