City Commissioners Deliberate Charter Ordinance Impacting Salina's Historical Property

City Commissioners Deliberate Charter Ordinance Impacting Salina's Historical Property

In a detailed discussion during Monday's City Commission Meeting, commissioners tackled the intricacies of Charter Ordinance No. 43. This ordinance seeks to exempt the City of Salina from specific sections of Chapter 308 (Senate Bill 508) of the Session Laws 1937, as later amended by Chapter 250 (Senate Bill 341) of the Session Laws of 1939. The amendment pertains to an act authorizing certain First-Class cities to convey designated property to their respective Boards of Education.

The focal point of the deliberation was a real estate tract known as "South Park," originally platted by the Salina Town Company in the "Original Town" in 1869. Located within the block bordered by Walnut St (North), Mulberry St (South), 2nd St (East), and 3rd St (West), the South Park tract was dedicated for park purposes. Notably, it excludes the row of platted lots along Mulberry St.

In 1908, the Board of Education of the City of Salina acquired the adjacent platted lots, constructing the Washington Building, which served as Salina High School until the mid-1950s. Historical records indicate that prior to the 1937 Kansas Legislature session, the Board of Education petitioned the city to hold a special bond election for the construction of a high school. The suggested location was the property just north of the present Washington High School, referred to as the City Park property.

The proposed transfer of title to South Park required special legislative authorization due to pre-home rule requirements. Consequently, in 1937, the Kansas Legislature enacted Senate Bill No. 508. On September 6, 1938, the City Commission unanimously approved the transfer, authorizing the Mayor to execute a deed to the South Park property. The deed, conveying the property to the Board of Education, was signed on September 7, 1938, with use limitations for school purposes and provisions for reversion of title to the city if these were violated.

Enabling Legislation Amendment
The enabling legislation from 1937 underwent an amendment in 1939 to rectify population number discrepancies, ensuring it applied exclusively to the City of Salina.

USD 305 School District's Request
As the successor to the Board of Education, the USD 305 School District has requested the removal of the city's reversionary interest in South Park. The Charter Ordinance presented is part of a multi-step process, offering an option to "charter out" of the 1937 and 1939 session laws due to their non-uniform application.

Fiscal Note and Approval
The Charter Ordinance, approved 4-0 on first reading, carries no immediate fiscal impact but could pave the way for additional property tax revenue if the South Park property is developed in the future. Mayor Hoppock was absent during the approval. This ordinance initiates a process that allows the city commission, at its discretion, to potentially release use limitations and the city's reversionary interest after discussions with USD 305.

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