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Where the Rails Cross the River



January 13, 2021

We’ve had two interesting Council meetings since I wrote my last article….

We held a special Council Meeting at noon on New Year’s Eve. It was a single-purpose meeting in which we approved a $2,000 Business Sustainability Grant (BSG) to 19 small businesses here in town. These grants needed to be approved by Council by midnight on December 31 in order for the City to get reimbursed by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The disbursement of these $2,000 checks is underway. We also decided at that meeting that we would work on a City-sponsored grant program where we would use the reimbursement monies to give additional grant dollars to some of the same small businesses; restaurants, bars, retailers, salons, and other local small businesses. 

The major topic at our first regularly scheduled Council meeting in January was the repeal of our Ordinance allowing the police to write citations to businesses and/or individuals not abiding by the Governor’s COVID directives. This became an agenda item for the Council meeting due to public input we received at an earlier Public Safety Committee meeting. I don’t usually like to see the Council repeal its own ordinances but, in this case, the Ordinance was approved back in April when we all falsely assumed that the COVID issue would be gone by July or August. We are living in unusual times.

That Ordinance was repealed by the Council. This doesn’t mean the City is promoting restaurants and bars to open their doors for indoor service against the Governor’s Tier 3 directives. It simply means that our police department will not be issuing citations. If you are a restaurant, bar or retail business that decides to defy the Governor’s directives, that’s your choice at you own risk. But I urge you to please conform to the guidelines of face coverings and distancing so that our metrics might come down and we might be able to get back to a sense of normal!

The downside to this action is that, if some restaurants/bars decide to defy the Governor’s directives, we will not be reimbursed by DCEO for the $2,000 grants we are currently dispersing, and we will therefore not have the money to provide the additional City-sponsored mentioned above. There is also an outside chance that other grants that we have applied for could be put in jeopardy – a $400,000 grant for storm sewers to help alleviate some of the flooding that happens out by Bradley Avenue during heavy rains, and the bike path grant that was submitted by our Bike Path Task Force.

Also at our last Council meeting, we approved surveillance cameras for Cutright Park and Eagle Landing. We think this is important because of the new observation tower and new playground equipment being installed this coming Spring/Summer. The cameras will deter vandalism and, if an accident were to occur, the cameras might protect the City from liability.

We also accepted a donation from Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) for the purchase of two telescopes; one to be mounted on the upper level of the Eagle Landing observation tower, and one to be installed at the lower ADA platform.

That’s all for this time. See you around town!



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