Wayne residents gather for town hall meeting


Wayne residents were able to voice their opinions regarding the recently completed Community Attitude Survey and future use of the old bathhouse during a town hall meeting on Tuesday.

Approximately 20 people were in attendance, including city officials, council members and local citizens. The meeting was facilitated by Jan Merrill with the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development Office.

Just under 150 people responded to the survey, which included questions regarding the Community Activity Center (CAC), Henry Victor Park, the Wayne Public Library, the downtown district, Hank Overin Field, the Summer Sports Complex and the trail system.

The city has applied for a Planning Grant for upgrades at the CAC and information from the survey will be used to assist with the grant application.

Suggestions for Henry Victor Park included updating the restrooms and having separate water facilities for dumping purposes.

In regard to the downtown area, lighting and public art earned high approval with those responding to the survey, while parking issues were noted as a problem on several of the surveys.

A number of suggestions were offered for improvements at the Summer Sports Complex, including lighting and separating parking at the Complex from the Wayne Bark Park.

Two of the most frequently mentioned needs for the trail system were better signage and trailhead amenities, such as restrooms and water filling stations.

In addition to these items, a number of questions on the survey involved housing in the city of Wayne and streets that need improvement.

Those in attendance expressed the need to keep properties up and the need to educate property owners and renters in this regard.

The need for various types of housing and their location in the city were also discussed.

A list of street concerns was also included in the survey information. These ranged from the desire to do something with the brick streets which get slick in the winter to installing stop signs at several locations and pot holes on Seventh Street.

In addition to listening to comments in regard to the survey, those in attendance were also able to express their opinions on the future of the old bathhouse, which is located at the corner of 13th and Lincoln Streets.

The city is able to apply for a Public Works Grant of up to $400,000 for upgrades of the building. The grant does require a 30 percent match from the city. The grant is administered through the state of Nebraska

City staff said the "building is solid" and can be developed so that it can be used by residents of the community.

It is located just off the recently completed section of the pedestrian trail and suggestions were offered for having both indoor and outdoor restrooms at that location.

Among the suggestions for future use were to have it available as a meeting area that is not associated with a restaurant. Those desiring to use it would be able to reserve it for various activities.

Also discussed was having locked/secured areas where groups such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts could store supplies and have meetings.

The bathhouse is adjacent to a park area and basketball courts which, according to those who live in the area "are in use constantly."

No decisions on its future use were made during the town hall meeting. Instead, all the comments will be considered as the grant information is put together. 

The grant application is due in mid-August. Prior to that time, a public hearing will be held during a City Council meeting in July.