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City to consider town hall ideas
September 04, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Several suggestions from last June’s town hall meeting will be discussed further by various Gering city departments.

Jill McFarland and Troy Cowan, council members from Ward IV, met with constituents to learn more about what they thought of a number of issues the city was considering. The Administrative Committee, of which McFarland is the chair, recently narrowed the suggestions down to eight and those will be assigned to city departments.

“We had a lot of conversation about whether we need a new city library building,” McFarland said. “Even people who are very supportive of libraries wonder if we can’t make the current facility work.”

The library always seems to be busy and the reported number of books being checked out has skyrocketed in recent years. But at the town hall meeting, both council members wondered whether the library basement could be better utilized. That item will be discussed by the Library Board.

One town hall participant wondered if the northeast corner of 10th and M Streets could be converted into green space. “The use of space will ultimately depend on recommendations made by the city planner we hire with our downtown development grant,” McFarland said.

The location of a proposed downtown hotel was also discussed at the town hall meeting. There is some interest in siting a hotel on N St., where the Health and Human Services used to be. But with the Union Bar close by, bands could bring an increased noise level. That item will also be part of the downtown development project.

Another suggestion that may be implemented by city staff is increased use of the city’s Facebook page to keep residents up to date on council meetings and other projects within the city.

A suggestion for a short-range radio broadcast of tourism information will be sent to the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau for discussion.

An idea that is more than a decade old is also back for consideration. “Someone suggested we purchase a used snow machine,” McFarland said. “We didn’t think much of it, but some council members thought it could work.”

Originally suggested by then council member John Fertig, a snow machine could be used to provide snow for the Northfield Park sledding slope even during dry winters.
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