Commissioners held to the fire

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

In Tuesday’s Iola Commission meeting Paul Zirjacks was at it again, asking if and when anything was to be done to improve the old Iola IGA building just north of the National Guard Armory.
Mayor Bill Maness said discussions were ongoing and the city didn’t want to defuse an opportunity for a new grocery, which Kendall Callahan, the owner, had indicated might occur.
Jeff Bauer, code enforcement officer, said Callahan was given six months to deal with structural concerns and that his window of opportunity wouldn’t expire until April.

DONNA Houser, who spends untold hours working with Molly Trolley projects, asked commissioners if the city might assume ownership of the trolley and “rent it to us (Iola Area Chamber of Commerce) for $1 a year.” She said the Chamber didn’t want the city to spend any money to maintain the trolley, rather provide it with better financial footing through public ownership.
“We pay $1,500 for insurance now,” Houser said. “If the city owned the trolley, insurance would be $300 a year. We went in the hole $180 this year.”
She said similar trolleys run in many Kansas cities to entice and entertain visitors are municipally owned.
“The trolley has been a great draw for tourists here,” she added, giving commissioners a list of sightseeing tours of the past year.
Commissioners expressed no opposition, but said they’d explore legal implications with City Attorney Chuck Apt before reaching a decision.