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

Planning Use of Development Funds

 

March 31, 2021 | View PDF



The Sidney City Council held a special meeting noon Wednesday, March 24, to discuss the Cabela's Occupation Tax Funds.

In 2008, Cabela's started charging an Occupation Tax at the Sidney retail center. The tax was designed to fund the continued development of the bike and pedestrian trails and other public infrastructure projects within the “enhanced employment area.” A map of the area defines the enhanced employment area as generally from the17J Link west to 11th Avenue, including Glover Road. A pedestrian/bicycle path currently exists from the stop light at Old Post Road and 11th Avenue east through the Cabela's/Bass Pro complex to the street on the south side of Applebee's restaurant.

The council's workshop included discussion on what can be done with the fund, and where. The tax fund is at $741,068.27. The challenge is the fund was defined focused on specific projects and geographic locations. The east end of the designated area is near the intersection with the 17J Link. Discussion included incorporating the Quality Inn area into the area for the expanded path.

The council also discussed if Glover Road could be part of the project, and how to make crossing from the south side of Fort Sidney Road to the businesses on Glover Road. The multi-use trail picks up from the traffic light at Old Post Road and 11th Avenue north parallel with 11th Avenue.

The discussion comes hours after the city council held a regular meeting on Tuesday when several community members attended to voice their opinion on enhancing the 17J Link project. The project includes resurfacing the link between Old Post Road to the Highway 30 overpass east of Sidney. The council has discussed possibly enhancing the medians with dyed and/or engraved cement.

Dyed and engraved cement would increase the cost of the project by about $141,000, and yearly maintenance. The 17J Link is not included in the Enhanced Employment Area.

“You really are limited to your map,” said city attorney J. Leef.

She said Cabela's/Bass Pro are no longer communicating with the City regarding options and proposed changes to the agreement.

“When they were working with us, we talked about expanding,” she said. “We've asked them to participate. They've said 'we've said all we're going to say.'”

Mayor Roger Gallaway said “you could do a lot” with the more than $700,000.

Vicky Loghry of Sidney encouraged the council to consider what cyclists experience riding on Old Post Road with trucks passing them at 40 mph and faster.

She also urged the council to consider safety concerns, of children who might ride or walk the path network, and planning traffic controls.

The council directed staff to research improvement options and engineering costs.

 

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