The Prairie Village City Council voted 6-4 Monday night approving a plan to replace the controversial black chain link fence along Brush Creek on Tomahawk Road with a wooden rail fence that will have chain link backing.
It will cost $3,000 to remove the chain link fence that Public Works began installing in late December, and that was just completed the second week of January. The new fence materials and installation will cost $17,000, and Public Works projects a 30 year capital life cycle cost of $62,000.
The original black chain link fence cost $20,000.
Council members Ruth Hopkins, Steven Noll, Michael Kelly, Andrew Wang, Charles Clark and David Morrison voted in favor of replacing the fence. Laura Wassmer and Dale Warman were absent from the meeting.
The wooden rail with chain link supplement option was one of five presented to the council by Public Works, which the council had tasked with pricing out a variety of remedies to assuage strong pushback from neighbors who were caught off guard by the fence’s installation.
Though most of the council and public present for this portion of the meeting were in support of taking some action to address the concerns of the neighbors, a few vocal opponents made the point that the fence was not an aesthetic anomaly.
“I live across from Prairie School and have got 100 feet of chain fence across from my house,” said Councilman Al Herrera. “I don’t notice it.”
But the overarching issue, argued others, was that a change was necessary to represent the will of those who live closest to the fence. Ruth Hopkins, who represents the ward where the fence is located, said she was struck by the reactions of the crowd to the evening’s biggest issues.
“The irony of the evening is that we had a whole room full of people here earlier objecting to the idea of us asking their opinion,” she said. “And the people in this room now would have loved it if their opinion had been sought.”
Marianne Noll, the wife of Councilman Steve Noll, has been active in organizing calls to have the fence removed or replaced, and told the council at the meeting that she was disappointed with the entire affair.
“The Parks Committee, Public Works and this council should be embarrassed that they let this happen,” she said.