- Published on 14 August 2012
- Written by Jenn Lampila
- Hits: 519
City streets and downtown improvement were major agenda items for the Crete City Council last Tuesday, Aug. 7, when members voted on parking concerns, and heard about two upcoming projects.
Tom Ourada, city director of public works, said the Phase II reconstruction of East 13th Street may be let in October, contrary to the February dates previously thought.
Ourada said the state has funds to use on this project, a continuation of last year’s East 13th work. If the money is not used this year, the Federal Highway oversight will give it to another state.
“The state is very accommodating to help us go through things before the final submittal,” Ourada said. “It’s extremely fast tracked.”
Other street issues concerned the work of University of Nebraska architecture students on a downtown improvement study.
Two UNL professors spoke on behalf of summer interns and fall classes they will lead in the remaining two phases of a project in which students will take research and information to form improvement designs for the downtown area.
The university department has completed similar projects in Ord and a foundation grants funds for support in five counties, including Saline.
In minor street issues, the council voted to remove parking on Boswell Avenue for 40 feet on each side of the intersections of 7th, 8th and 9th streets.
The council also removed parking on 9th street from Blue River Family Center’s east driveway, east to the neighboring residence driveway.
Both motions were in response to visibility and traffic concerns.
A previous council decision on an October event street closure brought concerns from a neighboring business and will require a compromise between parties.
Sokol Hall Halloween Festival committee members requested a street closure for their two-day event at the end of October. Nate Walenta and Bruce Cerny appeared before the council in June to request a closure on the west half of 12th street between Main and Norman and on the south half of Norman between 13th and 12th. They said the barricaded streets would help with safety of festival and haunted house guests.
Walenta said they had spoken to neighboring businesses and were told there were no concerns.
Duane Oliver, President of FOE 3909, The Eagles Club, located next to Sokol Hall on 12th street, sent a letter to Mayor Roger Foster at the end of July stating they were opposed to such a closure because it would block their business, a non-profit, and take away accessible parking for their members.
At Tuesday’s meeting Dennis Navratil, an Eagles member, said the closure was already approved by the time Sokol members had talked to them about it.
Walenta said the Sokol group had made the requisite contacts with the Eagles to ensure there were no concerns. He offered to modify their closure request to lessen the blockage of the Eagles building.
Foster asked all parties to work through a solution with Police Chief Steve Hensel at a time outside the council meeting.
The Halloween festival is planned for the last weekend in October and the closures were planned to be in place for just less than two-days. The festival is in its second year and organizers hope to gain awareness and raise funds for the renovation of T.J. Sokol Hall.
The council also:
- Recommended the retail liquor license of Fischer’s Beer Wine and Spirits (formerly Elmo’s Liquor) to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission with no concerns; approved a new location for Cristina’s Family Restaurant to retain their liquor license;
- Passed a motion to prepare an ordinance for a special exception for full-time church activities by Ministerios Dios Es Amorto on commercially-zoned lots north of Westwoods;
- Heard an update on acitivities from the Youth in Governance team;
- Approved JK Energy Consulting for regular electric rate reviews for the city;
- Approved Energy Pioneer Solutions to provide energy efficiency solutions to city customers.