Friday, October 31, 2014
   
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Lake Helen rehab permit approved

Council advances $2.2 million city sewer repair project

With approval for excavation from the U.S. Army Corps of Lake Helen, renovation of Lake Helen will likely begin this summer.

At their March 18 meeting, Gothenburg City Council members approved drawings and specifications for reconstruction and set May 1 as the date to open bids of companies wanting to work on the project.

Bids will also open that day for a $2.2 million project to repair and install new sewer in areas throughout the city.

City officials have been waiting since last May for approval of a permit from the corps to proceed with the excavation of Lake Helen.

The larger part of the lake will be deepened and the shallower lobe of the lake north of the footbridge filled in with dirt.

City officials said the lake will be reduced from about 30 to 20 acres.

Such amenities as a fishing dock, jetties to reduce erosion and more are in the plan designed by Miller & Associates Consulting Engineers of Kearney.

Council members decided to make renovation of the lake a priority to meet water quality standards and result in a cleaner lake that is easier and less expensive to maintain.

Most of the estimated $1.5 million project will be funded through grants. The city has budgeted $279,696 to make the lake more user friendly.

City administrator Bruce Clymer said they hope to re-fill the lake by the spring of 2015.

In other action, the council approved bid specifications for the sewer project.

Members agreed to bid two projects separately in case they decide to wait on the second project which could cost up to $1.7 million.

Improvements primarily involve installation of new sewer from the wastewater treatment plant to 11th Street.

The first project focuses on sewer replacement or re-lining in three areas in the Fourth Street and Cottonwood Drive areas that total almost $500,000.

Council members have talked about improving Lake Helen and aging city sewers for years and decided to put money into both projects.

The council had planned a hearing for the public to comment on a proposed downtown revitalization plan.

However the hearing was opened and continued until Thursday at 1:30 p.m. because a second notice of the meeting didn’t get published in time.

Both hearings will be in city council chambers where the council will likely formally approve Community Development Block Grant funds for downtown revitalization and approve the plan.

In other business, the council:

approved a resolution to enforce outstanding liens against property at 1804 Ave. C that the city condemned and removed. The council hopes to get some money back to pay for demolition of a house there and for asbestos testing and mowing but most of all wants to sell the lot for future housing.

raised ambulance fees to $425 (from $360) for emergency runs and to $300 (from $240) for non-emergency transports.

Gothenburg Volunteer Fire Department fire chief Mark Ballmer said the state average for emergency runs is $470 and $425 for non-emergency transports.

voted to use $1,747 from ACE (The Public Alliance for Community Energy) toward the Lake Helen or ugly corner improvement projects.

ACE is the city’s supplier of natural gas and returns revenue above the cost of operation to member communities. Clymer shared rollover rates from 2007-08 to 2013-14 which shows ACE rates lower than three other suppliers.

passed, on second reading, an ordinance that rezones Goshen, Goshen Second Subdivision and Reynolds Subdivision from R-2 to R-3 residential to allow for the construction of multi-family homes.

A development company wants to build income-based duplexes for seniors.

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