New Kiwanis playground set for Iron Horse - North Platte Telegraph

New Kiwanis playground set for Iron Horse - North Platte Telegraph

The North Platte City Council Tuesday night welcomed newly elected Councilmen Ty Lucas and Ed Rieker before agreeing to help the Buffalo Bill Kiwanis Club install playground equipment in Iron Horse Park.

The two men were sworn in alongside re-elected members Jim Nisley and Jim Carman as the eight-member council began its 2018-19 reorganization process following the Nov. 6 general election. Members at a future meeting will elect a council president, a post currently held by Nisley.

Mayor Dwight Livingston presented appreciation plaques to outgoing Councilmen Larry Pedersen, unseated by Lucas in Ward 2, and Martin Steinbeck, who declined to seek re-election to the Ward 4 seat that Rieker won.

One more new member will join the council after its Dec. 18 meeting, the last for Councilman Brook Baker before he moves outside city limits. Livingston then must appoint and the council confirm a successor to Baker, Ward 2’s other council member, who has two years left in his term.

The reconstituted council voted 8-0 to spend $20,000 in Newburn Fund interest so the Kiwanis, who have funded playground equipment at The Connection homeless shelter and Cody Park in recent years, can place their latest structure at the park south of Interstate 80.

The club, which received $7,500 in Newburn aid to finish its 2015 Cody Park project, earlier received a $15,000 national Kiwanis Foundation grant and raised $20,000 in additional funds. The Newburn interest will cover the rest of the Iron Horse playground’s estimated $44,000 cost and permit addition of concrete, benches and additional safety features, club members said.

Carman reminded his colleagues that current conditions on spending Newburn interest forbid its use for maintenance costs.

“I’m absolutely in favor of this, but we need to be mindful that it creates an ongoing expense down the road,” he said.

Veteran Kiwanian Chuck Scripter replied that club members volunteer their services to maintain the playground equipment it provides and installs.

“The city knows that if something goes awry, they call us and we get right out there and fix it,” he said.

Also Tuesday night, the council:

» Appointed Bonnie Kruse to replace Lucas on the city Planning Commission as part of the council’s consent agenda. The 8-0 vote also approved three subdivision plats the commission advanced last week, including a lot split of the Ellett’s Automotive property at 11th and Jeffers streets as the auto shop finishes a larger building at Ash Street and Rodeo Road.

» Named City Administrator Jim Hawks temporary street superintendent to maintain the city’s eligibility for annual Nebraska Department of Transportation incentive payments. After Public Service Director Wes Meyer retires next Wednesday, Hawks will be the only other city employee with the Class A street superintendent license required by the state. Hawks will receive no additional pay, he said.

Interviews are underway to choose Meyer’s successor, who Hawks said will have to study for their license after being hired. Thirteen people applied for the job, several of whom already work for the city, Hawks said.

» Agreed to move the council’s first meeting of 2019 from 7:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 2. The council typically holds its regular meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

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