|Gibbs outlines a year in Gering|
|September 21, 2012 Jerry Purvis|
With Gering Mayor Ed Mayo out of town, council president Larry Gibbs will fill in to present the city’s major accomplishments from last year during the Sept. 20 State of the Valley.
Sponsored by the Scottsbluff/Gering United Chamber of Commerce, the annual event features local mayors telling their town’s story from the previous year.
“I’ll be covering all of the city departments in some detail,” Gibbs said. “The electric department is making good progress on the U Street project to put all the utility cables underground. We’ll also be calling for bids at the end of October to resurface North 10th St. from Stable Club Road to the river. That project will be done next summer.”
Another road project in the works for next year is the reconstruction of U St. from 7th St. east to the city limits.
Over the past year, the city also added two wings to expand the stage at Five Rocks Amphitheater and replaced some of the bleachers with concrete benches, which appear to be working better than the wood ones previously installed.
Gibbs will also speak about the city’s sanitation department and the expansion into Cell 6 at the Gering landfill. The previous proposal called for all the work to be done at once, which caused bids to come in higher than expected. A revised proposal would allow for some of the work to be done this fall and completed in the spring of 2013.
Downtown revitalization was another topic of discussion as Gering is in the process of reapplying for a state planning grant that was earlier turned down. To support the application process, a survey of downtown businesses has been distributed to determine upcoming challenges and opportunities to downtown development.
A proposal to develop housing at the property where the former McKinley School now stands is still being considered. However, acceptable terms will still need to be negotiated with the property owner.
Gibbs said he would also highlight Fresh Foods, a city success story to bring a new supermarket to the town after five years of being without one.
The city also acquired property over the past year. The site of the Lane Auction House, across the street from city hall and set to close soon, has been purchased by the city for potential future development. Also the former WESTCO location on 10th St. just north of the tracks has been donated to city for potential development in the future.
Gibbs said that while the city’s current budget is up about 4.7 percent, the tax levy remains the same from last year. However, there were increases in the cost of utilities to reflect increased costs to the city.
“Overall, I think things are going pretty well for Gering,” Gibbs said. “It could always be better, but we’re in good shape considering the shape of the national and even the local economy.”