Process begins for downtown grant funds

Kevin Burnison of SENDD met with the City Council during their Feb. 18 session and provided information that will lead to a second application for Downtown Revitalization grant funding.

Burnison said the deadline for an application is March 31, 2014.

Before applying for a construction grant ($350,000) the city and Main Street Falls City must first complete a Phase One planning process, much like what was previously done that resulted in the reconstruction of the south side of 17th Street and west side of Stone Street in the 1700 block.

Burnison suggested applying for a $5,000 grant (25% local match) so that Main Street and SENDD can complete the planning.  City Council members agreed that Main Street and SENDD should work together to apply for the grant funding.  A public hearing on the pre-application is expected to be held March 17.

Burnison also provided an update on the bid process for the implementation of the owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program.

In other developments, the council:

—Learned from City Administrator Gary Jorn that between 15 and 16 hours were required to remove the heaviest snow of the winter and that city crews had been complimented on the job they did.

—Received the 1 and 6 year Street Improvement Plan from Patrick Malcolm of Olsson Associates.  A public hearing was held before council action to approve the plan.  Included in the plan is the paving of 21st Street east to the city limits, then north to Brenner Field (in association with Richardson County).

—Met with new Richardson County EMA director Brian Dixon, who has replaced Jim Gerweck, who retired.  Dixon said he hoped to establish a good working relationship with the City of Falls City and that he is available 24/7.

—Met with Chamber of Commerce/Main Street Executive Director David Branch, who said more events are in the works for 2014.  The council approved City support of $15,000 for the Chamber, the same amount as last year.  

—Approved a labor agreement with the IUOE union that was recommended by the negotiating committee.  The agreement is for three years and includes minor changes and is comparable to other union contracts regarding wages and insurance.

—Learned that approval has already been granted so that the City can authorize more than 12 events at Prichard Auditorium where alcohol is served.  Several functions received council approval, although members Judy Murphy, Kirby Robidoux and Steve Scholl all voted no on a school-related fund-raiser.  Murphy voted “no” on all alcohol-related functions, saying she has “an issue” when alcohol is served on city property.

—Approved the automatic liquor license renewals.

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