Fire chief suggests time to start looking at new fire barn

The Geneva City Council voted to grant a zoning special exception to allow a Family Child Care Home II Daycare on main street, passed a resolution to label a large portion of the city as blighted and substandard, mainly for an economic development tool and heard a quarterly report from Geneva Fire Chief Steve Yates, which contained another request to begin looking again for a new fire barn location in the city.

Yates asked the city council to take the initiative to form a committee with the Geneva Rural Fire Department to look into the possibility of building a new fire barn inside the Geneva City Limits.  Yates mentioned several possible locations for the new fire barn, which included a lot he purchased from the Bruning State Bank across from the Diesel Pickup Shop on the southwest corner of 13th and G Street. He purchased it as a possible location to park trailers for his business, he said.
Yates has told the city council several times in recent years that when the fire department begins replacing its current fleet, the new fire trucks will not be able to be housed in the current fire barn because of their length.  The current fire barn has also become extremely cramped already  and is hardly able to house new fire-fighting gear and other tools.
“The new trucks will not fit into our current location…period,” Yates said.
He also mentioned he likes the plans and outline of a new fire station that was just finished in the Village of Plymouth—west of Beatrice on State Highway 4.
“This station cost $900,000 to build in Plymouth and would fit us well,” Yates said.  He also commented he could see the cost of building the new fire barn to be 50-50 between the city and rural making the city’s portion around $500,000, a very doable amount in Yates’ opinion.
Geneva Mayor Rod Norrie asked the three city council members on the city’s Water-Fire-Sewer Committee to set up a meeting with the rural fire board and begin discussions about the possibility of building a new fire barn in the city.
Other portions of the update included:
• The department took part in several rescue calls and three fire calls in the last quarter.
• Several pieces of fire-fighting equipment have been recently upgraded in the department including hoses, generators, updated thermal-imaging apparatus, radios, safety saw, gas monitors, carbon dioxide monitors and face pieces.
• Yates mentioned that individual cylinders for the department need to be replaced, along with the pump and plumbing on the old tanker.
• Yates also mentioned that several department members had recently attended advanced accident-scene training.
In other January 18 city council happenings, the council voted unanimously to accept the Geneva Planning Commission’s recommendation to allow a special zoning exception for Jeanne Herman and Roddy Salmon to open a day-care facility in the back of the former Fillmore County Extension building on G Street between 9th and 10th Street.  A day-care center, adult or child, is allowable by special exception in the city’s C-1 Central Business District designation.
Herman told the city council she feels Geneva needs more licensed day care.  She said she was a day-care provider earlier in her life and would like to open a day-care facility, mainly in the back portion of the former extension building, to take care of 10-12 children with two people working.  She said the front portion of the building could be used for office space.  She also said a portion of the area behind the building would be fenced in (preferably with a six-foot high fence). Herman mentioned the fence is scheduled to not reach right up to the alley that runs behind the building.
Other meeting notes include:
• Kevin Anderson with JEO Consulting in Omaha outlined Resolution No. 2016-03 which declares a certain area of Geneva to be blighted and substandard and in need of redevelopment.  The designation could allow for TIF funding to be available to a business wanting to locate in this area.  The last update of this kind was reported eight years ago.
“This basically designates areas that need to be developed,” Anderson said.  “It pushes for full utilization of the areas that are designated.”
• The city council passed Resolution No. 2016-2 which will allow the city to recoup money being paid out on preliminary Geneva Family Aquatic Center activities once bond funds become available.
• Updated snow removal agreements between the Nebraska Department of Roads and the City of Geneva were discussed.  The city will pay the Nebraska DOR $3,044 yearly for snow removal in several areas where state crews have easy access to or may have to travel over to get to other portions of roadway.
• Citizens are encouraged to contact the Geneva City Office concerning problem potholes.  City officials realize that problems exist with city gravel and rock roads.  These areas will be addressed once snow cover and freezing ground conditions happen on a consistent basis, Geneva City Administrator Kyle Svec said.
• The city council approved Shamlynn Berggren as a member of the Geneva Rescue Unit.

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