Wakefield City Council discusses upcoming projects


Discussion of projects around the community dominated the Wakefield City Council meeting on Aug. 11. 

A community development block grant (CDBG) application was approved, discussion about downtown parking was held and the council heard a request from Wakefield Community School among other agenda items.

The meeting began with a report from members of the Community Re-development Authority (CRA). The CRA told the council that they were working on assisting downtown businesses with both façade and roofing repair. They were also supporting a CDBG grant application which was the subject of a public hearing during the meeting.

The application will be for a $434,700 project that would improve street lights downtown. In the grant application, the CRA agreed to contribute roughly $108,000 in matching funds. No one spoke during the open hearing. The council voted unanimously to approve the application.

Discussion was held about possible options to ease traffic around Lazy Acres Décor and Floral. Owner Sarah Ekberg also operates the Amazon Hub Locker and told the council that her delivery drivers are busy enough delivering packages that they often load vehicles multiple times a day. Ekberg told the council she wasn’t sure if a loading zone would be appropriate, but was looking for some options to keep traffic flowing without taking up excess parking spots. Mayor Paul Eaton said he did not think a loading zone was the answer, but the council agreed they would keep working on options.

Adam Goos gave the council an update on the forthcoming WakeFest. The community celebration will be held Saturday, Aug. 21. While the event will borrow some events from the old Balloons N BBQ event, like a parade and fun run, this year’s event will take place almost exclusively downtown and will feature live music in the evening. Goos said those wishing to participate in events like the BBQ cook off and cornhole tournament can still do so up to the day of the event. Proceeds from the event will go, in part, to the Wakefield Youth Rec program.

Wakefield Community School superintendent Matt Farup gave the council an update on the proposed football and track stadium. He requested the city extend electrical service. The cost will be over $67,000. Eaton told Farup that helping the school create an outdoor stadium has been a goal discussed in council retreats for several years now and the City was happy steps were finally being taken to make that happen. Farup also informed the council about parking plans. He said parking will be north of the stadium and will inlcude 41 total parking spaces. He is hoping the stadium will be ready for the first football game of the 2022 season.

Countyline made a request to close the ally south of the establishment for an adult Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 30. The council voted unanimously to grant the request.

Public hearings were set for a Workforce Housing Incentive Plan and on an amendment to zoning regulations to allow funeral chapels in the C-3 district. Both were set for the next regularly scheduled Wakefield City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Before convening, the council held a third and final reading for passage of ordinance 8-2021, to allow extra sales tax for economic development. City administrator Jim Litchfield also told the council that the Nebraska Department Environment and Energy requested some test wells to monitor quality be dug.

The next Wakefield City Council meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at the Wakefield Civic Center.