by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The Wellington City Council approved the final plat of the new Oak Tree Inn being built at the corner of Woodlawn Ave. and U.S. 160 in the Penny’s Diner parking lot.With the excavation nearly complete of the old Warner Plaza lot, the construction of the new 110-room Oak Tree Inn is about to begin. The new hotel will be open by Christmas 2014 with the goal of opening before Thanksgiving, said Roy Riggs of T.R. Lodging Enterprises – owner of the Oak Tree Inn/Penny Diner.The existing 80-room Oak Tree Inn will remain open but be renamed Green Country Inn.Tuesday’s motion, unanimously passed by the city council with member John Tracy being absent, was more or less a technicality – giving T.R. Lodging final approval of four lot plat. The Wellington City Planning Commission recommended its approval two weeks earlier.Three of the lots are owned by T.R. Lodging, with the exception of one lot on the northeast corner being owned by Fugate Enterprises, a Wichita development group that owns several Pizza Huts/Taco Bells in south-central Kansas. The new hotel is being constructed to accommodate an influx of Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railroad business traffic in Wellington.” Riggs, who said he grew up in Wellington, told the council the company hopes to be digging the basement soon in what will be a two-story lodging complex.Contrary to rumors, Penny’s Diner will remain as is and will not be expanded or moved. It will receive some landscaping around the area, Riggs said.‘I want to give you a great big thank you for what you are doing for the community,” said Jim Valentine, Wellington City Council member.Wellington City Manager Gus Collins asked if there will be improvements to the older facility. Riggs said the company will be doing so. The original intent is to have railroaders use the new facility and the older facility will accommodate overflow traffic and the public at large.There will be no indoor pool for the new facility, Riggs said.———In other council business:The council approved the purchase of seven new golf carts for the Wellington Golf Club at $25,000 from Kansas Golf and Turf of Wichita. The City of Wellington saved money by bidding out the old 2004 golf carts being replaced at public auction and raising $5,000. Wellington Golf Club Director Derek Harrison reported that family membership is up at the golf course and a lot of young people are starting to golf.Unfortunately, the overall age of the Wellington golf community is getting older as it has for several years. Inevitably that has decreased overall attendance, Harrison said. The weather has not been conducive to a lot of golf traffic thus far, but Harrison is anticipating the busy start of the season is starting about now.•Kim Woodward, a former city council member and private resident, addressed the council asking for permission to start a community garden. He and the city staff were looking at developing city-owned property on C Street just east of the Wellington Housing Authority apartment complex. Woodrow estimated that this garden would be more than an acre.Local people would then grow various vegetables. Some that will be sold at the community Farmer’s Market in downtown Wellington in the summer. Sumner Newscow will provide more details of the proposed project at a later date provided we remember to do so.•The council approved the Special Alcohol and Drug Fund allocations recommended by the SADA board. The allocation of $13,250 is as follows: Big Brother/Big Sisters – $1,500; Project Prom $2,000; P.S. Club $1,000, Mirror, Inc. $2,500, Red Ribbon Committee $1,250, Sumner County Community Drug Action Team $1,500, Sumner County Community Drug Action Team $1,500, Sumner Mental Health Center $2,000, and Wellington Recreation Commission $1,500.