From daycare shortages to LB840 activity and from the future of the lagoon to housing needs, Wayne City Council members spent time discussing these and other topics during a Mini Retreat on March 30.
Council members heard several reports from Wayne Area Economic Development Executive Director Luke Virgil including LB840 activity, daycare needs in the community and downtown business activity.
Virgil said there have been no changes in the original LB840 loans and there are currently three loans in which the city is collecting payments. Additionally, a request will be coming to the council in April. He noted that there is currently $324,000 available in the revolving loan fund.
Virgil's presentation prompted council members to discuss the sales tax that has been collected to fund LB840 activities. It is scheduled to sunset in 2024 and possible options were discussed. These would require the issue to be put on the ballot.
He shared information on businesses that have opened, moved or closed in recent months.
These included the move of IKT to the former Mineshaft Mall, the opening of Boutique Black Label in the former 1912 Emporium, Wayne Dance Studio moving into the former IKT location and ALLO Communications opening an office in the College Plaza Mall.
Daycare services in the community were determined to "be a huge need" by all those in attendance.
It was noted that there are a number of barriers to having adequate daycare available, including staffing, wages, benefits and the hours of operation
The capacity of Rainbow World Childcare was discussed, along with possible changes in state regulations that would require smaller class sizes and additional space.
Among options for additional daycare was having some type of community-based after school program or have some type of school district facility.
Conversation included having the city be a partner in funding additional daycare within the community.
In addition, council members spent considerable time discussing the future of the lagoon area.
Several two-dimensional drawings were shared with possible plans for the area. These include having a lake on the south end of the area, adjacent to Logan Creek.
Council members said they felt there were many issues that needed to be discussed before moving forward, including also adding softball/baseball fields in the area, whether or not camping spots would be included and how to keep the lake filled with water.
It was noted that a more concrete design for the entire area needs to be made available to the public. After that, funding for the improvements could be brought to the voters in the form of an additional city sales tax.
Housing was discussed at length during the retreat.
Virgil told the council members that there are approximately 60 lots available to build on in the city and that there is a shortage of rental properties available. He said that builders are willing to buy lots, but not be developers of entire subdivisions.
While the need for smaller homes is among the priorities, there is a demand for homes in every price range. It was noted that the need for some type of housing for the aging population also needs to be addressed.
Council members listed a number of areas in the community, specifically in the northeast section of the city and the western portion of the city that could potentially be developed.
Council members also heard information on the topic of electric costs to the city from Winter Storm Uri. Final costs have not yet been determined as there may be some type of federal mitigation on the situation.
The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wayne Community Activity Center.