This is one of those things that can be kind of confusing. The city of Newton does not operate the county fair, that task is done by a county fair board on behalf of Harvey County. However, the fair board and county do not own the land the fair — and its buildings — call home.
The land underneath those buildings is owned by the city of Newton — both the property adjacent to Athletic Park used by the fair board and property across First Street to the south.
For decades the city has leased that ground to Harvey County. This year it became time for a new lease — in part because the county commission has requested a new lease for the property and in part because the old lease expired.
“There was a lease in place in 1979 that expired in 1999,” said Chris Towle, legal counsel for the city of Newton
The county and city have operated under the old lease, even though it expired, for nearly two decades.
“The county has proposed that we formalize this,” Towle said.
The proposed lease — reviewed by the city commission Jan. 8 — is a 10-year lease, with the ability to cancel a portion of lease for property south of First Street. The lease would not generate any revenue for the city — unless the county subleases the fairgrounds. In that case, the city would receive one-half of those fees.
“I have no problem with it,” said Barth Hague, city commissioner.
That was the general consensus of the commission. The commission will review the final draft of a lease agreement at its next meeting and vote on the approval.
In other business the commission:
• Elected David Nygaard as mayor and Kathy Valentine as vice mayor for 2018.
• Designated The Newton Kansan as the official newspaper publishing legal notices for 2018.
• Recognized Linda Moyo of Newton High School for being named one of three state officers for the Jobs for America’s Graduates Kansas program.
• Recognized Sgt. Jason Thompson of the Newton Police Department for completion of the Law Enforcement Leadership Academy from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.
• Recognized Newton Presbyterian Manor for receiving a Top Performer designation by U.S. News and World Report on their Best Nursing Homes List for 2017-18.
• Received a year-end housing report.
• Approved a cereal malt beverage license for Gurty’s Burgers and Shakes in the 200 block of W. 12th.
• Approved a resolution finalizing the demolition of a house at 527 E. 11. The city will give the property owner 30 days to pursue demolition of the property. If the property owner does not get services contracted, the city would then be authorized to demolish the house and bill the property owner.
• Approved a final plat for Rolling Hills sixth addition. The addition is zoned for commercial development.
• Approved pursuing the sale of small pieces of land adjacent to 901 N. Elm and 314 Glendale.
• Reviewed legislative policy statements by the League of Kansas Municipalities, REAP and the Harvey County Council of Governments.
• Approved the appointment of Ron Henich and Lorne Reimer to the Mechanical Board.
• Approved joining the county commission on a letter to Workforce Local Area I and Workforce Area IV regarding cooperative agreements between the two Workforce areas.