The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

City Council Approves Funding Project


October 2, 2019

The Sidney City Council on a split vote passed a resolution allowing the City to apply for funds for the proposed downtown plaza and water park.

Hope Feeney, president of the Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber had submitted an application to the Land and Water Conservation Fund program. She was then contacted and asked to change everything on the application marked “Chamber” to “City of Sidney.”

Vice-Mayor Joe Arterburn objected to the resolution, saying it is contrary to what the public has been told.

“Everything that's been told to us is 'this is not going to be a City project.' There's red flags all over this thing,” he said.

He added the resolution makes the City responsible for the project, not the Chamber. Mayor Roger Galloway said the City already owns the land, and that isn't going to change. He said the resolution is only to seek funds for the project. He added the City has been wanting to develop a water park “for a long time.”

Arterburn said if the project depends on this grant, it is on shaky ground, suggesting the City and the Chamber back away and seek other funding sources.

“I'm not speaking against the project. I'm speaking against the process,” Arterburn said.

The grant is valued at $291,000.

“It definitely would make it a lot easier,” Feeney said.

She said if the Chamber is not awarded this grant, it will still move ahead on the project. She added that any funds raised above the necessary cost will be applied to a maintenance fund.

Galloway added there is an element of risk in the project itself.

“Even without the grant, we're going to take that risk. I think the risk in the project is inherent,” he said.

The amendment to the resolution, identifying the City of Sidney as the entity seeking the grant from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, was approved 3-1 with Arterburn voting against the measure and councilman Bob Olsen absent.

In other business, the council approved 4-0 a planning grant. Economic Development Director Melissa Norgard said Community Development Block Grant funds are available to revitalize downtown. The $30,000 planning grant would be used to update the Master Plan.

“Ultimately, the planning grant would let us meet with the landowners,” see if there is interest in revitalizing downtown, according to Norgard.

A meeting was held Sept. 12 for downtown business owners with 15 in attendance.

Norgard also said the Historic Preservation Board has two members – Marva Ellwanger and Bruce Leypoldt -- with their terms expiring October 31 and asked permission to advertise for the openings.

In other news, the council approved an amendment to Ordinance No. 1813 addressing animals in the city limits.

“This is something we thought we did some time ago,” said city attorney J. Leaf. The ordinance had said vaccinations are required every two years when they are good for three years.


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