Parks are topic of council discussion



   Parks - how many, how big and what to put in them - were discussed at length during Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne City Council.


A discussion item on the agenda allowed concerned citizens, council members and city staff the opportunity to provide input on the parks in the community.

City Planner Joel Hansen shared with the council the history of the various parks in the city of Wayne. He said that counting the area of the golf course, the city has 158 acres of parks. 

"I began working for the city in 1990 and since that time, we have added lots of area to the city, including the number of parks," he said.

Hansen noted that when the lagoon area is developed, this number could increase and would "really change the face of the community."

Lou Wiltse and Jason Barelman, who live in close proximity to what is known as Nebraska Street Park, told the council "this is a park with a wonderful, neighborhood feeling to it. It is used by college students and young children in the neighborhood.

Both expressed the need for additional and/or updated equipment in the park.

The park is jointly owned by the city and the State of Nebraska. College staff are currently maintaining it.

"I would like to see more 'natural' equipment put in the park and some of the equipment there updated. Maybe someone could help build pieces of equipment for the park," Wiltse said.

It was noted that any new equipment placed in a park is subject to safety regulations and these do not allow for home-made equipment.

Christine Brummond asked the council if a small park could be constructed on the south end of Sherman Street in the area that has been recently developed.

"There are probably 20-25 young kids in the new development. The park wouldn't need to have a lot of equipment. I want the kids to have someplace safe to play," Brummond said.

Council member Matt Eischeid said the area is only three blocks from Wayne Elementary School, which has a number of pieces of playground equipment. He said that distance is much shorter than from parks in other parts of town.

"This is an on-going issue that we (city council) deal with every year. Park equipment is very expensive. No matter what we do, not everyone is going to be happy. We have to be fiscally responsible," Eischeid said.

Hansen then told the council that the lagoon could be created into a recreation area and said, "I hope there are big plans for the area so we can bring people to the community."

Lowell Heggemeyer with the Parks and Recreation Department spoke on the amount of time city staff (including part-time summer help) spend mowing the parks and said "we want them to look nice, but it takes a lot of upkeep."

Heggemeyer also said he was in favor of having the lagoon area made into some type of camping area.

In summing up the evening's discussion, Council member Jennifer Sievers said, "We are not taking this lightly. We are parents also and want parks for our children. Lots of discussion goes into these decisions."

Discussion was also held on updating an ordinance dealing with all terrain and utility vehicles.

State statutes in regard to operating these vehicles on city streets has changed and the city needs to change the city code to comply with these changes.

Additional discussion was held on vehicles which do not fall into those categories, such as golf carts.

"We need to look at this closely and address golf cars and four-seaters so there is no 'gray area' in the code, said Council member Eischeid.

The ordinance did move forward on first reading but will be re-visited during the second reading at an upcoming meeting.

In other items, council members approved the application of Jaret Harmer to the Wayne Volunteer Fire Department. Harmer has previously served on the Winside Volunteer Fire Department before moving to Wayne.

Acting as the Board of Equalization, the council approved the assessments for Water Extension District No. 2017-01, the Beaumont/Wayne Area Event Center, Inc.

City Administrator Wes Blecke told the council the city installed a water line under Highway 15 that actually involved three properties, one of which is owned by the city and another which has not yet been developed.

The cost for the work on the portion that will be assessed at this time is $33,564.44. The terms of the loan for the payment of this amount will be 4.25 percent interest for 15 years.

A resolution approving an interlocal agrement between the city of Wayne and the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State College (Wayne State College) was approved. It involves a three-year agreement with rate increases each year.

Pay applications for the 2019 Nebraska Street Improvement - CDBG No. 16-CD-208 Project in the amount of $11,423.70 and for the Wayne 2018 Pedestrian Curb Ramps CDBG No. 16-CD-108 Project in the amount of $45,556.25  were approved during the meeting.

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.





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