City Commission Greenlights Expansion of Salina Community Theatre into Founders Park

City Commission Greenlights Expansion of Salina Community Theatre into Founders Park

In a City Commission Meeting on Monday, commissioners delved into discussions concerning the authorization of the Mayor to execute a Special Warranty Deed with Covenants. This deed is pivotal for the conveyance of real estate associated with the Salina Community Theatre Association (SCTA), aiming to facilitate the expansion of the theatre facility into Founders Park. Additionally, the City Manager is now empowered to execute an Amendment and Complete Restatement of the Community Theatre Maintenance and Operating Agreement with the SCTA.

SCTA initiated discussions with the City regarding the prospect of expanding its facility westward. This expansion is earmarked to enhance educational offerings and incorporate a scene shop within a proposed 9,500 square foot expansion that would extend into the current Founders Park. Given that this proposed ownership transfer involves park property, it is subject to K.S.A. 12-1301, titled "Land for park purposes; sales or exchanges in connection with parks; use of moneys; notice; protest; election; validation of prior sales and conveyances."

A summary of K.S.A. 12-1301's application to this proposal is provided as follows:

Before making a trade or exchange or sale of park property, a city must first publish notice of such proposal in the official city paper once each week for two consecutive weeks upon the same day of the week. If within 30 days from the date of the last publication there has not been filed with the city clerk of such city a protest signed by qualified electors of such city equal in number to not less than 10% of the electors who voted at the last preceding regular city election as shown by the poll books, such city may make such sale, trade or exchange. In the event such a petition is filed with the city clerk within the time prescribed above no such sale, trade or exchange shall be made until the governing body shall be instructed so to do by a majority of all the votes cast on this proposition at a regular or special election.

On November 6, 2023, the City Commission authorized the preparation and publication of the required notices. The protest period lapsed on December 15th without a submitted petition. Consequently, the City Commission has met statutory notice requirements, allowing them to proceed with the action authorizing the execution of the attached limited warranty deed.

In discussions related to property transfer to SCTA, staff requested a review of the 2007 maintenance and operations agreement. The restated agreement, while largely unchanged, now includes provisions such as requiring SCTA to allocate funds to an escrow account for significant maintenance items and placing a cap on the City's responsibility for electric utilities. The City will retain responsibility for janitorial services, ongoing maintenance, and major capital repairs.

The City's annual liability will remain unchanged with potential for energy savings. Contributions from SCTA to the escrow account will offset major capital items.

In a unanimous decision, each motion was approved 5-0.

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