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Council continues discussion about long-term projects

The agenda at the city council meeting on July 1 included updates of many ongoing projects. These projects include the community center and the housing rehabilitation program.

Community Center

One of the big ongoing projects is the community center. The steering committee has been formed. The committee includes Sarah Kiburz, Steve Wilke, Randy Hergott and council members Jay Bauer and Beth Goldhammer.

The committee’s main job is to look at the options and come up with possible recommendations. The recommendations will then be presented to the city council which will have the final say in all matters. The committee met last week and came up with a recommendation for a company to use throughout the design, bid and build process.

JEO Consulting Group of Wahoo was the recommendation from the steering committee. This group will be present throughout the entire process. It was also noted that by using this company during the design, bid and build process, it allows local bids from subcontractors to be considered.

“I really wanted to give the opportunity to local people to help build the community center,” Goldhammer said.

Although the decision to use JEO Consulting Group is a step closer to the community center, many things still need to be decided such as where on the property to place the center, Bauer said.

Housing Program

In other business, there were updates given on the Nebraska Affordable Housing Program’s city-wide housing rehabilitation program. The program uses grants that require no match from the city for funding.

A committee was announced last month, and this month one additional name was added to the list. Tom Posey has been added to the committee.

Jen Olds, development specialist at Southeast Nebraska Development District, presented the council with guidelines for the program. Guidelines include how many years the tenants must stay in the house after improvements are made.

She said that so far eight homeowners have pre-applied for the program, but it is not too late to apply. The deadline for applications is the middle of July.

The program is still in the first few stages because the city must still be approved for funding.  Pre-applications are taken to gauge the amount of interest in the program. If they are approved for funding, decisions on the applications will be made by October. But it will be the first of the year before bids will be accepted for the improvements.

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