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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

City Council Starts Trail Improvement Discussions

 


The Sidney City Council is facing a question, probably a series of questions. Now that they know of the fund for developing part of the trail system, what should be done, followed by what can be done within the budget, or does the council choose to finance the project beyond the fund balance?

The City Council learned recently it has funds collected through a Cabela's Occupation Tax of one-half cent per dollar. The fund totals about $740,000.

The fund is earmarked for trail development along Old Post Road and the area adjacent to the Cabela's campus. The council met March 24 to discuss options for the Occupational Tax funds. In the June 8 council meeting, the council approved an agreement with RDG

The city council scheduled a special meeting Thursday, June 24, to meet with staff of RDG Planning and Design via Zoom. The expectation, according to City Manager David Scott, is the fees by RDG will amount to about $30,000 from the $740,000 fund.

Thursday's meeting was attended by council members Bob Olsen, Burke Radcliffe, Joe Arterburn and Mayor Roger Gallaway with councilman Brad Sherman excused. Marty Shukert, (Principal Community and Regional Planning), Cary Thompson (Landscape Architect) and intern Chloe Gillespie attended the meeting by Zoom.

The meeting was an opportunity for the agency and council members to discuss options for the fund.

Phase 1 of the process is called “Discovery,” when existing plans and maps are reviewed to gain an understanding of the geography, options and limits of the infrastructure along Old Post Road.

One of the questions discussed is the status on the trails on the Cabela's/Bass Pro property.

“I think they were built for public use,” said Scott.

Mayor Gallaway said the City was encouraged years ago to connect with the trails at Cabela's. Much of Thursday's discussion centered around connectivity and visibility, connecting the two existing trail systems and increasing visibility.

“Some of the things we'd like to see are in the Master Plan, maybe some signage,” Gallaway said.

One point of discussion is Glover Road and how to design a safer pedestrian crossing from the Cabela's area. Conversation of a pedestrian bridge is considered too expensive. Gallaway said Scottsbluff recently added a pedestrian bridge at a cost of $1 million. The possibility of caution lights and markings were also discussed. Additionally, the council members and RDG representatives discussed possible use of the median between Glover Road and Old Post Road to add a sidewalk/multi-use trail.

Shukert suggested the City consider a bike share station, possibly an e-bike program, for patrons of the hotels to commute downtown.

The council and RDG representatives also discussed the property west of Cabela's near 11th Avenue and the Interstate 80 overpass. Gallaway said he would like to see development follow the “look and feel of the Cabela's campus.”

“Anything we can do to dress up the property,” he said.

RDG plans to return to Sidney in August.

 

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