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19th Street to be home of new community center

Signal Editor

The Geneva City Council voted 6-0 to locate the new, proposed Geneva Multi-Generational Community Center in the city's 19th Street Development area at the council's regularly-scheduled meeting last week. The city council also discussed housing guidelines for the area.  Discussion on accessing a one-mile plus strip along N. 13th Street was tabled until April 1 because JEO engineer Jeff Ray could not attend the March 18 meeting.
Geneva Community Center Committee member Joe Miller attended the meeting and told the city council his committee was unanimous on suggesting the 19th Street development area as a location for the new multi-generational community center.  The location, east of the Fillmore Central Elementary School and north of the Fillmore County Hospital would be located on three to five lots on the east side of the new development area.
"I think its important to keep the momentum on this project and support this," City Councilman Josh Turner said.  Turner also serves on the Geneva Community Center Committee.
"At least we own it," Councilwoman Jean Engle said.
Councilman Norman Marks noted the city would have to give up some lots by locating the multi-generational center in the housing development.
"It's the gamble you take that it would be a good fit for a young family," City Administrator Kyle Svec said.  "You could be adding value to the lots."
With an uncertainty of parking needs, three buildable lots were mentioned as being lost to the building's placement.  Geneva Mayor Eric Kamler commented that 15 new homes can still be built in the 19th Street development area.
The city council voted unanimously to opt for this site.
"This is the new future home of the community center," Kamler said.
Also during the meeting, the council debated a potential "Guidelines For Housing Development, City of Geneva, Nebraska." Some notes include no more than two lots may be purchased per buyer, household or entity and lots may be used to build single-family residences. Residences will be expected to be not less than 1,200 square feet and construction shall commence within 12 months.
The guidelines will be discussed again at an upcoming council meeting.
"You're trying to strike a balance on what that area should look like," City Attorney David Solheim said.
Other items on the March 18 agenda included:
• A Public Hearing was opened and closed on vacating two roadways near N Street and 11th Street.  Geneva attorney Paul Bixby appeared with home owner Adam Myers to outline this request. The changes were unanimously approved previously by the Geneva Planning Commission.  The city council also unanimously approved the changes to correct and cleanup property lines.
• Fillmore County Hospital (FCH) CEO Chris Nichols gave the city council an update on the local hospital. He noted the two new providers at the medical center and hospital.
"I think they add a lot to our medical community," he said.
He also noted the 6,000-plus hours of training on the new medical record system that FCH staff has put in.  Another topic was the several major capital purchases coming up.  The big one, $300,000 for a 3-D mammography unit, will come with $95,000-plus in local fund-raising money.
The need for possible new expansion was also mentioned.  A 10-year plan for growth will be developed.
"We will look into what's needed and what we can afford," Nichols said.
• The recent Annexation Study was mentioned.  Kamler said Jeff Ray with JEO had other obligations and could not make the meeting.
"We will go into this much more in-depth at our next council meeting," Kamler said.
Mitch Klein with JEO was at the March 18 meeting and discussed how the sanitary sewer and water lines could be placed along 13th Street in the annexation area.  He said the lines would have to be placed on opposite sides of 13th Street and a lift station would need to be constructed on the sewer side of the project north of Turkey Creek.  He also suggested using as large as possible pipe sizes with the proposed project.
"The majority of the cost in these projects is in the placement of the pipe," Klein said.  "The size of the pipe is a very small amount of the total project cost.  Plus, it would open up a larger area for potential growth."
Klein said he would project the water main work in the annexation area to cost between $600,000 to $700,000 and the sanitary sewer work to cost between $900,000 and $1 million.  Engineering costs were estimated at $187,600.
"Obviously, you will be at the mercy of the current bidding market," Klein said.  "It would be a major undertaking."
"I felt like we needed to have them come here and talk about this," Svec said.
Klein said, once given the go-ahead, it would take about four months for design, bidding and letting the project and then another four months for construction.
Turner mentioned if there was a way to protect the city if no new business development happens in a timely manner in the annexation area.
"That's a lot of money to lay out there for the city," he said.
"I'm not sure you can protect yourself from all the possibilities," Solheim said.
• The city council went into Executive Session with Solheim, Kamler, Deputy City Clerk Brandi Domling and Svec to discuss eminent or pending litigation.