Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Design chosen for underpass facelift


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This design, which was the first concept of three presented, was chosen for the facelift for the Kimball underpass at the Sept. 15 city council meeting.

A facelift design for the underpass has been chosen.

The Kimball city council voted for the first concept and the least expensive one at its Sept. 15 meeting. Three concepts were initially presented, although there were few differences between the three.

Though it is the least pricey of the three concepts presented this summer, the chosen concept features a curb and retaining wall with more native grasses. All the designs presented retained a vast amount of the limestone currently used along the slopes and included interpretive signs and a paved plaza with seating.

Council member Christy Warner pointed out that there was a difference in pricing from the first and fourth designs of nearly $100,000, and she asked if the amenities provided in the costly fourth option were worth that price. The first design comes with a price tag of approximately $690,000, and the fourth has a projected cost of $780,000.

"All four designs meet all of the Historic Preservation Office criteria. There were components from a couple of different designs that some people liked more than another, such as some liked the grass along the sidewalk, some didn't. Some liked the sidewalks that did not encompass the 90 degree turns," said City Administrator Daniel Ortiz.

Larry Stahla, a driving force behind the historic preservation of the area, said most of the people he spoke with were also in favor of the first design.

"We have come a longs ways," Stahla said. "The Historical Society, locally, has said they like number one the best."

After much discussion, Warner moved and James Shields seconded to approve the first design concept and each voted for it. James Schnell and John Morrison voted against the motion. With a tied vote and the Mayor Keith Prunty absent, the board went back into considerations.

Morrison said most of the people he spoke with liked the fourth concept the most, but in counting the public's written comments, the council found that more were in favor for the first design.

With some clarification regarding the interpretive signage, Morrison said he could go with either design. When the call for a vote came again, the council unanimously voted for the first design.

"The timeline for the project is, I think, the final design and approval moves forward from here into next year with final designs being let out for bid in 2016 and hopefully finished in 2017," Ortiz said.

Also at the meeting, the budget process was completed following a public hearing.

"This is the culmination at the end of our budget process," Ortiz said. "I for one am happy that we got there, not happy with the results, but happy that we are at least wrapping up. We are working with our auditors to prepare our budget forms."

The council further discussed the property tax request and levy for the coming fiscal year. The levy lid is set at 0.45.

"The property taxes fund request for the city's general fund was $447,430, that equates to a mill levy of 0.416099," Ortiz said. "The combined mill levy for city general and city bond is expected to be 0.556991.This is a slight increase from 0.55211."

"We tried to come in at the same numbers we had last year, so calculated levy is with the levy limit compliance," Morrison said.

The council voted to extend the restricted fund lid by 1 percent, which is allowed by state law.

"If you don't authorize the increase, next year you are just kind of, it's not simple to explain, you allow yourself that growth, if you don't allow yourself that growth, next year if you need the additional growth you are limited in terms of how much you can increase it by," Ortiz said.

The council also:

- Approved a liquor license request from Greg McDaniel, the new owner of the Kim Bowl.

- Renewed the agreement to provide the Kimball Banner County Chamber of Commerce $450 monthly from economic development funds.

- Granted $2,500 in Keno funds for the Kimball Fall Festival.

- Received a quote from Nienhauser Construction for the NDOR water service line project totaling $45,500.

- Reviewed the capital improvement plan, with changes due to financial concerns.


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