The Blair City Council convened on June 13, 2023, to discuss and decide on several important matters that would impact the community. The meeting addressed various aspects of city development and infrastructure, focusing on improving the quality of life for residents. Here is a detailed summary of the key points discussed during the meeting.
One of the notable items on the agenda was the consideration of conditional use permits. The council approved a 15-year renewal for the Fairway Oil Company, allowing them to continue their operations. Additionally, Logos Plus, a local establishment on Nebraska Street, also received a 15-year permit renewal, ensuring its ongoing presence in the community.
Another conditional use permit request came from Country Auto, a car dealership located near the roundabout on Highway 30. The dealership had experienced damage to its flagpole due to snow removal equipment. To rectify this, Country Auto sought approval to replace the 25-foot flagpole with a larger, 80-foot one. Since exceeding a height of 45 feet requires a conditional use permit, the council deliberated on the matter. Ultimately, the request was granted, enabling Country Auto to proudly display a 20 by 30-foot flag near the roundabout, creating a patriotic landmark for Blair residents and visitors.
During the meeting, community member Jake Loftis addressed the council, emphasizing the importance of making Blair a more walkable city. Loftis had conducted extensive research, drawing insights from Jeff Speck’s book, “Walkable City.” He presented his findings to the council, highlighting potential improvements that could enhance walkability and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment in Blair.
Water supply and infrastructure were also significant topics of discussion. The council discussed a Rural Water Study that aimed to provide water access to an area south of Blair, between 70 and 133. To assess the feasibility of this project, a study costing $60,000 was proposed. The funding for the study would be shared equally between the Water Fund and the Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District. This initiative aimed to improve water supply in underserved areas and enhance the overall reliability of the city’s water system.
Concerns regarding the quality of water and the presence of a chlorine smell prompted the approval of a polymer study for the water treatment plant. The study, conducted by HDR Engineering, would explore potential solutions to address these issues, ensuring the delivery of clean and odor-free water to Blair residents.
The council also reviewed bids for a major water main project. After previously receiving only one bid, the revised bidding process yielded three competitive proposals. Ultimately, a bid of $3.997 million was accepted, resulting in significant cost savings. This project involved the installation of a 30-inch water line spanning 500 feet, which would enhance water distribution, particularly towards Cargill.
City appointments were also announced during the meeting. Lindsay Burton was appointed as the new city treasurer, joining other key personnel such as the assistant city administrator (Aaron Burrow), city clerk (Brenda Wheeler), director of Public Works (Allen Schoemaker), and city attorney (Desirae Solomon), who would continue their roles. These appointments ensure the continued efficient functioning of the city administration.
The meeting also provided a platform for community members to voice concerns and suggestions. City Manager, Phil Green, addressed the council, highlighting the understaffing issues within the parks department. Green emphasized the strain faced by the department during peak seasons when the demand for park facilities, such as pools and boat ramps, increases. While no immediate decisions were made, the council acknowledged the concern, indicating a potential future resolution to address the staffing needs of the parks department.
Moreover, the state’s requirement for an affordable housing action plan by 2024 was discussed during the meeting. The council expressed their intention to initiate the development of this plan, emphasizing the importance of providing affordable housing options to meet the needs of the community.
The Blair City Council meeting on June 13, 2023, demonstrated a commitment to the city’s growth and well-being. Through the approvals of conditional use permits, discussions on walkability improvements, water supply studies, and cost-effective infrastructure projects, the council showcased its dedication to enhancing the quality of life for Blair residents. By addressing these key areas of concern and planning for the future, the council is actively working towards a better and more prosperous community.
Special thanks to Aimee Cothran. For corrections, additions, or questions email firstname.lastname@example.org