Housing grant application highlights council meeting

Housing needs and a liquor license were among the items members of the Wayne City Council discussed during Tuesday's regular meeting.
Megan Weaver, Director of Wayne Community Housing Corporation and Luke Virgil, Executive Director of Wayne Area Economic Development, spoke to the council on the need for the workforce housing in the community and state-wide program known as LB 518.
Last year the state legislature allocated $7 million from the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund to be granted to communities for provide workforce housing.
Weaver told the council this money can be used in a variety of ways, including new construction and rehabilitation of existing homes. It does require a dollar for dollar match from each community requesting funding and is capped at a $1 million request. The deadline for submitting a grant application is March 30.
Weaver and Virgil told the council they have been communicating with several employers in the community in an attempt to secure additional funding to be used for the grant application.
Kelby Herman, a local developer, told the council that he is working with several other communities to secure LB 518 funds and is familiar with the process. Additionally, he told the council he is currently working on a $3 million project in Wayne that is "shove ready" and would be an asset when submitting the grant application.
He also said that the LB 518 funds are granted to each city and loaned to the respective entities, such as a developer or home owner/buyer. As the money from these loans are repaid, they would become part of a revolving loan fund which could them be used for additional housing needs.
Following considerable discussion by council members, it was voted to allocate $200,000 to the project and provide up to another $200,000 as a dollar for dollar match from private entities in the community.
The proposal will be re-visited at the council's next meeting in two weeks.
An application for a Class CK (On and off sale - beer, wine, distilled spirts & catering) liquor license was approved for Wayne Area Event Center, Inc., doing business as Beaumont Event & Concert Hall was approved.
Josie Broders spoke to the council during a public hearing on the item and explained where on the property alcohol would be allowed.
Wayne Police Chief Marlen Chinn spoke to the council and noted that if alcohol were served in an outdoor patio area, that area would be classified as a beer garden and needed to be fenced in. If alcohol were served along with food outdoors, the area would be classified as a garden cafe and a barrier of some type would need to be in place.
Council members debated what constituted a barrier, as they have final say on the matter. It was determined that landscaping could be classified as a sufficient barrier.
The city's one and six-year street improvement program was approved following a public hearing.
Joel Hansen,  Street and Planning Director for the city of Wayne, presented a list of projects to be completed. He told the council that a project cannot be completed if it is not on the plan, but having it on the plan does not mean it has to be done.
The projects set to be completed in future years are for planning purposes and may be moved around if the need arises.
A bid of $384,910 was approved from Robert Woehler & Sons for the Second Street Storm Sewer Improvement project.
Council members approved a request from Anthony Cantrell on behalf of Wayne High School and Electric Vehicle Energy Research of Nebraska (EVERON) to close off a portion of East 10th Street from Angel Avenue to Hillside Drive.
The request is for the annual electric vehicle power drive rally on Saturday, May 5. The street will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cantrell noted that this year Wayne will be hosting the state event and there is a possibility of up to 40 cars in competition.
In other action, the council approved the appointment of Terri Buck to the Audit Committee.
Mayor Ken Chamberlain also read a proclamation designating March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

The Wayne Herald

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Wayne, NE 68787
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