Retreat part of council agenda


By Clara Osten,


Topics ranging from a liquor license application to a Community Activity Center Relocation Planning Study and a grant application for a Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program were on the agenda when the Wayne City Council met in regular session on Tuesday.

Following a public hearing, Resolution 2023-76 was approved. It allows for a Class CK (on and off sale and catering) liquor license for Webber Hospitality, LLC, doing business at Geno's Steakhouse & Lounge.

Brittney Webber, one of the owners of the business, spoke to the council and explained that the license is similar to what was already in place for Geno's, with the addition of the ability to cater events involving alcohol.

Webber also talked about some of the work that has been done since the purchase of the business and said she and her husband hope to have a soft opening in the near future.

A resolution was approved creating an agreement with Carlson West Povondra (CWP) Architects for a Community Activity Center Relocation Planning Study Project.

Bob Soukup with CWP told the council what the work would entail and that he hopes to have the study completed by mid-March 2024.

The cost for the study is $15,000.

Representative of the Northeast Nebraska Health Department were at Tuesday's meeting to explain plans for building a new facility north of Magnuson-Hopkins Eye Care.

As part of the process, they requested the city serve as the custodian for a $300,000 USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG).

City Administrator told the council that this is a competitive grant with no guarantee that the city would receive it.

Details were shared on the building project, which is estimated to cost $1.285 million and needs to be completed by December of 2024.

The resolution to move forward with the grant application was unanimously approved.

Pay application No. 1 in the amount of $195,567.30 to Philip Carkoski Construction and Trenching, Inc. for the 2023 Wastewater Treatment Facility Ultraviolet Light Improvement Project.

Roger Protzman with JEO Consulting Group, Inc. spoke to the council and gave an update on the progress of the project. He said there was a delay in getting some of the equipment, but things are now moving forward.

The project is being paid for with ARPA funds.

Resolution 2023-77 was approved. It accepted a bid from Mighty Duck Steele Pool Co. for the 2023 Pool Painting/Sandblasting Project.

Recreation Director Lowell Heggemeyer explained to the council what the company will provide and noted that he had received favorable comments about their work from officials in other cities.

In other action, council members approved the appointment of Jill Walling to the Wayne Library Board. Walling will fill out the term of Sarah Lentz.

Following the meeting, council members conducted a retreat and spent time discussing topics such as the future of the First National of Omaha Building.

Considerable discussion was held on what council members would like to see in the building in the future and the possible options for future expansion to the current building.

City Administrator Blecke told the council an appraiser is coming in to do an appraisal and closing documents are being prepared. He also said that with the action taken during the meeting for the planning study for the building, more accurate estimates will be available moving forward.

Council members were unanimous in the need "to look at all options and see how we can work with the spaces that are there."

Discussion ranged from installing additional bathrooms to various types of sports areas.

"We need to think about what the building could be used for in the future and be fiscally responsible," said Council member Matt Eischied.

It was noted that if the planning study is completed in March, the city could put a sales tax vote on the ballot in May, as it would be more than the required 23 months since the issue was last put before the voters in the city of Wayne.

Considerable discussion was held during the retreat in regard to future blighted areas in and around Wayne.

City Administrator Blecke told the council that a city of Wayne's size can have up to 35% of its area declared blighted and substandard. At the present time, approximately 27% is in that category.

Council members looked at the city map and talked about potential areas that could be included and the fact that if an area is designated this way, it would be eligible to receive TIF funding for future development.

They received an update from the Community Redevelopment Authority on housing.

It was noted that the buyer for one of three houses moved to the southwest portion of Wayne earlier this year has backed out and several options are available moving forward.

The other two homes are sold.

Council members also shared individual goals for 2024 and beyond.

These included continuing work toward finding the source of the leak in the city swimming pool, working on replacing and repairing streets within the city with someone other that city staff who are often needed to complete other work and dealing with sewer issues and lead water lines in areas in the city.

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.