Discussion on parks highlight retreat agenda


Park projects, and how to pay for them, were among the topics discussed during the Wayne City Council's mini-retreat on Jan. 31.

City Administrator Wes Blecke and Finance Director Beth Porter shared information with the council on the options for completing projects, including where cash to pay for them could come from and the need to bond other projects.

The two told the council they had met with the city's bond agent and were told the city can use a portion of sales tax revenue collected to pay back bonds for qualified projects.

Council members received updates on the progress at Prairie Park, including how to go about constructing a Park and Recreation building at the site.

Options for a building that could be expanded in the future were discussed. Preliminary plans call for a 7,800 square foot building have been discussed but can be adapted, depending on the costs involved.

Discussion centered on how fast the council would like to move forward with the development of the park and determining possible funding sources, including bonds and grants.

Park improvements at other parks in the city were reviewed, specifically East Park.

Lowell Heggemeyer, Park and Recreation Director, shared information on plans for the park. He told the council that at the present time the park includes equipment primarily for young children and not a lot of equipment for those in the 6-12 year age range.

"Park equipment is expensive. The city can do some of the work, but when it comes to actual installation, it is best for the professionals to do the installation. This is also where a large part of the cost comes in," Heggemeyer said.

The possibility of installing handicap accessible equipment at some of the parks in Wayne was discussed; however no decisions were reached at the retreat.

Also on the retreat agenda was discussion of the former Ameritas property, which is now owned by the city.

Mayor Cale Giese told the council he felt the city should move forward with the renovation and "lock in costs now before they go even higher."

It was suggested the city bond out the costs for the renovation and pay for it over the course of 20 years.

A time frame was discussed with an anticipated date of spring of 2024 to move into the building.

In connection to the Ameritas building, council members also talked about what to do with the parking lot on Logan Street that was part of the purchase and the future of the current City Hall.

The general consensus was that the city does not want to maintain ownership of the building, but no official determination has been made.

On the topic of future trail expansion, ideas were shared on extending the trail around East Park to Fourth Street and connecting it to the current trail at that location.

Other topics discussed during the retreat were the possibility of creating a skate park in Wayne, street improvement projects from Fairgrounds Avenue to Prairie Park, Fourth Street to Prairie Park, Centennial Road and 21st Street and a sidewalk along Seventh Street to the Dollar General store located on Centennial Road.

Options for funding of these projects was also discussed and the benefits of each listed. 

Council members reviewed city goals they had previously developed and talked about those that had recently been completed.

The Wayne City Council will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb.7 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.


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