Jan 03, 2024

Local News: Business park rezoning plan is advanced (6/6/23)

McCOOK, Neb. — After again hearing neighbors’ concerns and changes in plans to mitigate some of those concerns, McCook city councilors approved on second reading the rezoning of agricultural land to heavy industrial to make way for expansion of McCook’s Business Park.

Greg Wolford of W Design and Charlie McPherson of the McCook Economic Development Corp. outlined changes in the design at Monday’s regular City Council Meeting.

Those changes included restricting entrance to the industrial park to the driveway already in use, with a large turnaround in the northeast portion of the park.

What is officially East 17th Street on the east edge of a residential area on Ravenswood Road, would be closed and maintained as a gravel road for emergency use only, with a gate and accessible for first responders.

Wolford said a drainage issue would be addressed with the creation of a holding pond in the northeast portion of the park, with drainage into Kelley Creek. McPherson noted that drainage requirements are already part of city zoning regulations that would be followed.

Kathleen Eiler said she was grateful some of the issues had been addressed, but felt drainage was still an issue. Zach Curl and Nic Curl both expressed concern about the noise, odor and hazardous materials that might be allowed under the heavy industrial zoning, and urged the council to rezone three lots closest to residences as light industrial instead. Adam Johnson echoed preference for light industrial zoning, and said businesses should have paved parking lots rather than simple rock, which has resulted in trucks becoming stuck.

After hearing from concerned citizens, council members voted 5-0 to approve the updated plan.

Rezoning of property occupied by the Southwest Nebraska Health Department on West 10th Street from residential medium density to business commercial was also approved.

Tim Woozy of Platte Valley Communications gave the council information about a new digital repeater that would provide better mobile radio communication for the McCook Police Department. Officers have about 95% coverage with the new digital repeater, with terrain and metal structures — such as the city municipal building — blocking coverage. As a workaround, the new system is “patched in” to the old analog UHF system to provide complete coverage.

City Councilman Jerry Calvin, a retired McCook police officer, said he was disappointed the proposed upgrade wasn’t included when the original system was installed two years ago for $750,000, possibly leaving officers and the public in danger when communication fails.

Police Chief Joel Smith said the new digital system, which networks with a statewide system, is working well.

The new digital translator, which will be installed on the west water tower, will cost about $35,000 including installation.

Calvin also pulled an item from the consent agenda, four properties that had been determined to be health hazards by the McCook Health Board.

City Manager Nate Schneider said the city prefers to work with property owners rather than resorting to legal action, the health hazard among the final steps. He said some 30 to 50 properties are currently under consideration, and the owner of one of the properties cited by Calvin had already been working on the home.

Schneider said a guaranteed maximum price of $6.78 million had been established for the new city pool, which is on track to be completed by Memorial Day 2024. A $6 million bond issue is expected to be sold in July, combined with $562,000 from the McCook Community Foundation Fund, $250,000 from the Masonic Lodge to fund the issue.

A new drawing of the final plan, including a zero-depth pool, two slides, a lily pond and a lazy river, will soon be released.

“I think everybody’s going to be happy” with the final product, he said.

He also said meetings with ballpark stakeholders such as landowners Lloyd and Elizabeth Benjamin, Community Hospital Health Foundation, McCook Community College and Foundation will be held in coming days, with a bond issue for the project planned for 2024.

Councilman Gene Weedin, also a member of the Public Alliance for Community Energy, or ACE gas supplier, addressed the council to urge support for the cooperative gas supplier. He said there are now seven gas suppliers, which make for smaller portions returned to member communities like McCook. He said ACE had returned some $172,314.26 to the city of McCook over its 25 years of existence, including $150,000 which have gone toward projects around McCook.

Posting a comment requires free registration: