Development and the future of Seward was the running theme throughout Seward City Council's Aug. 18 meeting.
City Engineer Mike Oneby, who started the job on June 17, delivered current blueprints of the city's 1- and 6-year plan. That's a list of city road and street projects slated planned over the next fiscal year and then within the following five years.
Some of those projects include the widening of Highway 15/Sixth Street from South Street to the city limits, as well as the Hillcrest Avenue to Plum Creek Bridge maintenance and improvement project. There's also a slated road improvement project for Hillcrest Avenue from Eastridge Drive to the Plum Creek Bridge.
Eventually, Karol Kay Boulevard will extend south and connect with Hillcrest Drive (along with an adjoining walking path), but discussion stalled over the nearby bridge maintenance. City Administrator Greg Butcher explained that Plum Creek Bridge, weathered as it may look, gets inspected every two years and is due for inspection next year. There have been discussions with the county as to who is responsible for maintenance, which Mayor Josh Eickmeier said showed the council that it's the city's responsibility. Butcher said there is an improvement in the works for Plum Creek Bridge but it's on hold until federal funds can be secured for the likely multi-million dollar project.
Drainage issues in the Fairway Woods subdivision were also brought up, which the council will take a closer look at as development continues there.
The final plot of the Country Club Heights Sixth Addition was the only ordinance item and that motion passed unanimously. That item was brought forward after it was determined to split the final lot from one home into a duplex.
In a different sort of development, city Tax Increment Financing Attorney Andrew Willis delivered his report on TIF funding for the upcoming Scooter's location at 240 N. Sixth St. Willis called the findings “pretty straightforward.” The lot was sold to Scooter's franchisee Kevin Hall as excess property from the neighboring Alp's Indoor Dog Park and brought no zoning district issues. Construction, which has already begun, was recommended to begin immediately. The business and location was valued at $271,000 in TIF funding. Seward County Assessor Marilyn Hladky assessed the property (land and building) at a total of $318,120.
Willis then stated the potential benefits of the business to the community. Scooter's is estimated to employee 12-16 full-time or part-time jobs. Hall spoke of potential tax revenue created for the county from Highway 15 commuters.
The council unanimously accepted the TIF application.
Council members also heard the application for Class C liquor license for Upton Spirits at 621 Jackson Ave. from council member Alyssa Hendrix. Hendrix, who abstained from votes and discussion on all previous issues during the meeting, made herself available for questions on the item. Upton Spirits is slated as an off-sale beer, wine, liquor and tobacco store. The council approved the license.
The city decided to renew its three-year agreement with Uribe Refuse and renew its five-year term with Gillmore and Bell P.C. for disclosure compliance services relating to outstanding municipal bonds. The council also approved amendments to the articles of incorporation from the League of Nebraska Municipalities, which allows city representatives to be represented during meetings by teleconferencing or video calls. Previously, representatives were only counted if present and not by proxy.
Before final items and adjournment, council members also suggested looking at distinctions for potential yield and stop signs, led mainly by potential safety remedies to the intersection at Fifth and Seward streets.