Ward 2 City Council Seat Appointed, Council Awards Largest LB840 Project

WAYNE – City Council held their first of two regularly scheduled meetings in the month Tuesday evening and addressed vacant positions on council while also providing LB840 funds to a six-unit market-rate apartment.

From the council chambers inside City Hall, Wayne Mayor Cale Giese appointed Brent Pick in the vacant Ward 2 Councilmember position.

City Administrator, Wes Blecke said Mayor Giese is still taking names in Ward 3.

“Staff doesn’t get involved much with this other than saying you can let us know if you’re interested and then we’ll pass it along to the mayor,” said Blecke. “Then we stay out of it unless the mayor asks us to be involved. So, he will make another appointment the next meeting on the 16th (November).”

This also sparked a conversation about the ward system as other communities are all-large or a combination. Contact Mayor Giese or City of Wayne staff if you have input as this topic will be discussed most likely later this month.

Matt Ley, managing member of Sanctuary Apartments, LLC attended the meeting pertaining to the former First Baptist Church located at 400 Main Street. The group has already been in front of the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) to start a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) application process and have a few more meetings before being finalized.

Council approved the request of $400,000 for the six-unit market-rate apartment complex which is the biggest monetary LB840 project that the City of Wayne has done adding six-units.

Blecke added this is a lot of money.

“But for historic preservation, it’s tough to do,” Blecke added. “The financing for historic preservation just isn’t there because it’s easier and usually more cost effective to tear it down and start over.”

Terms include a 20-year amortization schedule but ballooned in 10-years so after 10-years the full $400,000 plus interest will be back in the LB840 account.

Later in the meeting, councilmembers addressed an ordinance to adopt the official City of Wayne Ward map coming from the 2020 Census. Wayne Proper grew by 319 people to now sit at 5,973 and must re-align the precincts.

Joel Hansen, Street & Planning Director, completed the work in-house as Blecke said the only changes were two square blocks between 7th and 8th and Lincoln and Sherman Streets that are moving from Ward 3 into Ward 4.

“Ward 1 and Ward 2 have the exact same population of 1,480 people,” Blecke added. “You can’t just say we’re going to take our population and cut it in fourths because you cannot break up census tracks. You have to be within so many percentage points. Ward 3 will have 1,512 people and then Ward 4 is 1,501.”

A second reading of the ordinance will be brought forward next meeting.

A pair of agenda items then pertained to College Hill Park (old swimming bathhouse). The City of Wayne was awarded a grant to use $303,000 for renovations of the bathhouse as well as connecting the City of Wayne trail to the trailhead.

Blecke mentioned he’s excited about the project and hopes work would be complete by Fall of 2022.

“I’ll be working with Jill Brodersen to make sure we have specs that are easily understood and worded such that we can get good bids on that project. We hope to get that out very soon to start advertising for contractors to come in and take a look at that project.”

A public hearing was also held for “Pine Heights Road & Utility Improvements Project.” Jan Merrill with Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District must hold this public hearing for input if there are any issues with the project and also for the grant funding. No one from the public came forward.

Myers Construction on the Pine Heights project is a little over a month behind with the original substantial completion date being this Friday, November 5. An extension was granted in late October as there is about 150 – 200 feet of sidewalk to complete and grading back.

Some final items will need to be completed in Spring of 2022 as the grant covering the project has been extended to May of 2022.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, November 16 at 5:30 p.m.