The North Bend Eagle


City doesn't want to lose downtown parking spots

Council also considers updating basketball court, changing library hours

by Nathan Arneal
Published 3/28/12

The North Bend City Council agreed with a couple of downtown business owners that losing parking spots on Main Street would not be a good thing.

Earlier this month, Nebraska Department of Roads workers showed up to repaint parking lines that would eliminate the two southernmost parking spots on either side of Main Street.

NDoR’s goal in eliminating the four parking spots was to allow a wider path for semi trucks turning on to Main Street in order to decrease the chance a truck strikes a parked car.

The city of North Bend originally contacted NDoR about the possibility of placing a stoplight on the intersection of highways 79 and 30 to decrease accidents. NDoR said the intersection does not meet the requirements for a stoplight.

In the past two years, there have been eight accidents at the intersection. Only two of those involved turning trucks swiping cars parked on Main Street.

“What they’ve come up with, to me, is typical government overreaction,” Tom Wolf told the council, “to take away parking stalls on the main street of a small community.”

Wolf represented Platte Valley Bank, one of two businesses that would be most affected by the change. Both the bank and the Corner Cafe would lose all Main Street parking directly in front of their businesses if the four stalls are removed.

Mayor Jeff Kluthe said the city had expressed its disagreement of the plan to NDoR, but it was told the parking changes would be made anyway.

Wolf said he talked to someone in the Traffic Engineering Department of NDoR who said the changes could be halted if the city sent in a letter requesting the parking stalls not be eliminated.

The current parking alignment near the highway 30 and 79 intersection does comply with state regulations, Wolf said.

Eliminating four parking stalls is overkill in an effort to prevent what amounts to one fender-bender per year, Wolf said.

“Main Street is the lifeblood of every small community,” Wolf said. “To take four more parking stalls away from two of the busiest commercial businesses in North Bend just doesn’t make an sense over one accident per year.”

Another part of the re-striping plan was to move the center line of Highway 79 to the west by eight feet near the intersection. This would allow for more space between turning semi trucks and cars parked on the east side of the street, where the parking stalls are closest to the intersection. Wolf suggested that NDoR go ahead with that part of the plan to see if it makes a difference.

The council agreed to draft a letter asking NDoR not to remove the Main Street parking stalls.

Jeff Peters and Troy Post attended the meeting to ask the council to improve the conditions of the basketball courts at the city park. Peters said the court is down to two usable baskets out of four and the court itself is crumbling in spots. The two baskets that still stand are either crooked or the wrong height.

Peters said in the past vandalism has been a concern of the council, causing hesitation to put more money into the court.

“Those are the same hoops I played on 30 years ago,” Peters said, “so the vandalism probably hasn’t been that bad. We haven’t invested a lot of money in those things. I just ask you to treat (the basketball court) like any other piece of equipment up there and keep it updated and invest some money into it.”

Council member Emily Kirchenmann, head of the Parks and Pool Department, said two new baskets have been ordered and are ready to install. The council said it will look into new hoops as well as possibly laying a layer of asphalt over the court.

In other council business:

• The council accepted new hours of operation for the library as suggested by the library board.

The new hours, which will take effect when the new library building opens, will be: 1-6 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, 1-5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Library director Amy Williams said she had received several requests from patrons to be open over the noon hour, and that was partially responsible for the new hours. The new hours will have the library open 35 hours a week, compared to the 32 hours it is currently open.

Williams also said it is looking like the library will be ready to make the move into its new building in mid-April. She requested that the library be closed the week of the move, to which the council agreed.

• Kirschenmann announced the hiring of the summer pool staff and set May 21 as opening day, weather permitting.

• Due to the unseasonably warm temperatures in the past couple of weeks, the council decided to open the city dump earlier than normal. It will be open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., weather permitting. Only grass, leaves and other yard waste may be dumped.

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