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Council approves FTD resolutions

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Fur Trade Days is almost upon Chadron again, and Monday night saw the city council approve a couple resolutions to ensure things will go smoothly.

The first approved resolution was to allow use of Greenwood Cemetery, and to block off the cemetery’s north entrance, for the historical walking tours scheduled for Saturday, July 9. Junice Dagen noted the people portrayed this year include artist Connie Bell Swanson, Fur Trade Days promoter Milton Grantham, Fur Trade Days’ first queen Bertha Horse, businessman Welcome Naylor, active citizen and politician George Snow, and Byron and Maggie Radcliffe

The second resolution approved a special permit request for fireworks on two separate days, July 8 and July 9. There will not be two shows, however; the extra day provides some leeway in case on inclement weather.

Fur Trade Days Board member Miles Bannan noted last year’s show, which was a first for FTD, had one date. There were significant rains that cancelled some events, he noted, and had the fireworks show been rained out it would have been a loss of $5,000. The show will be launched from the same spot as last year, the city lot on East Niobrara, though Bannan noted the fireworks will be a bit bigger. Fireworks are planned to start at 10 p.m., but that time may change.

Council also passed a resolution to help with a fall activity, allowing temporary use of Highway 20 where it intersects with Main Street for the Chadron State College Homecoming Parade. The parade is set for Oct. 1, and will travel south on Main from First to 10th.

In other action, three resolutions on two projects were approved. A resolution was first approved awarding the bid for the east tank recoating abatement project to McGill Restoration of Omaha in the amount of $214,166.

The following two resolutions dealt with the Chadron Avenue project from Sixth to Seventh. The first was to approve a change order for Buettner Construction on the project. It was noted in the order that there were increased costs due to a majority of the remaining subgrade being unstable and unable to adequately support the planned pavement. Reswulting changes were in regard to concrete payment section, excavation and embankment greater than 12 inches in depth, geotech fabric and concrete rip rap. The total increase was $57,398.20

It was further resolved to approve the first progress estimated to Buettner on the project, in the amount of $141,367.79.

Two liens were also approved, for outstanding utility charges of $366.99 at 118 West Third Street and $213.02 at 247 Shelton Street.

Council also heard from Chadron Public Library Director Rosella Tesch on the highlights of the 2020-21 fiscal year. Tesch pointed out the number of visitors was down at the library during this time, as library staff learned how to continue operations while preventing the spread of COVID-19. As a result, programs such as Storytime were online, and the library provided new online services such as Hoopla.

During the fiscal year, the library had a total 37,983 visitors. Of these, 14,750 were adults, 5,902 were children and 17,979 were virtual. As for items checked out, there were 5,381 adult age books, 146 magazines, 2,401 DVDs/CDs, 1,014 teen age books, 5, 234 children’s books, 361 items through Hoopla and 6,449 through the library’s Overdrive system.

The library collections include 61 printed serials, 37,578 books, 2,523 videos, and 1,139 audio materials. Specific to the Overdrive system are 32,021 electronic books and 20,017 audio books.

Technology use at the library included 3,315 adult using the computers, 172 youth using the downstairs computers and game systems, and 627 using the library’s wifi. Tesch noted the wifi is on all the time, allowing people who may need a signal to utilize it when they need it.

City Manager John Sutherland spoke briefly in regard to sales tax in Chadron, noting with some concern that the revenue brought in by the tax appears to be levelling out. As of May, 2022, the revenue generated was $1,575,175, about $68,000 more than May of 2021.

Sutherland also spoke to the street project on Fourth of Main, noting that it was something of a pilot project to see what could be done by our local street crew rather than contracting out the work. He said it looks like there will be significant savings with the project, and it will help show what crews are capable of moving forward.

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