Early Council approves zoning change, opening door for new apartments

Rick Phelps Special to the Bulletin
Melanie Ceresini, president of the Early Youth Baseball and Basketball Associations addresses the Early City Council Tuesday evening regarding the condition of the city's parks. Ceresini offered suggestions to improve the parks and said a cost estimate would be provided at the next meeting.

EARLY — Unanimous approval by the Early City Council of a planning and zoning commission recommendation Tuesday evening means construction of a new apartment complex will begin in the near future.

The council approved the recommendation which will allow a zoning change from single-family to multi-family on eight acres of property on Sudderth Drive. The complex, which will be named “Riverside Park Apartments” is a $7 million project that will house 60 units. Michael Osbourn with Kaw Valley Engineering previously stated the complex would be constructed and ready for occupants within 14 months.

Osbourn attended Tuesday’s meeting and addressed some of the issues discussed regarding the project, including traffic. “We have found through a traffic study we conducted that additional traffic in the area due to the project would not be detrimental.”

Upgrades were another benefit, Osbourn said. “Through our improvements, we feel our project will improve the infrastructure of Early.”

Melanie Ceresini, president of the Early Youth Baseball and Basketball Associations, for the second consecutive month approached the council about the condition of the city’s parks. Ceresini distributed photos of one of the ball fields after a recent downpour. Handouts of proposed improvements were also distributed.

“I am asking you to consider my proposal,” Ceresini said. “Not for me, but for the kids, our city and our future. I have a lot of teams that want to come here to play and I don’t want to tell them no.”

Applying for grants for park improvements is one option Ceresini suggested. “I have researched these grants and have learned they are much easier to acquire if the city is on board.”

Mayor Robert Mangrum told Ceresini the council needed proposed costs to accompany the proposed plans. “We have to have some figures to see where we are at money-wise,” Mangrum said.

In other business, the council

• Approved an Early Economic Development performance agreement and funding request of $10,000 for Lo Botana Mexican Restaurant

• Approved an updated water conservation and drought contingency plan

• Approved a resolution to express official intent to reimburse cost of sewer system projects

• Approved a continuation of coverage agreement with TML Intergovernmental Employee Benefit Pool.

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Rick Phelps is news director at KOXE.