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Wells citizens bring speed zone concerns to council

By Staff | Feb 2, 2015

The Wells City Council has goals, and addressing a speeding problem near the school is one of them.

Since the new United South Central building was opened, the City Council has been working to create a safe environment both for drivers and residents.

However, during the meeting held last Monday, a citizen was present to address that very issue.

Michelle Gottburg, who lives on Ninth Street in Wells, spoke up during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“With the new 15 miles per hour limit by the school our street has now become a raceway,”?Gottburg told the council.

The council had decided at a meeting several months ago that the limit should be reduced to 15 mph to prevent speeding near the school.

“Now, I think Ninth Street is the way people go because they don’t want to go 15 mph on the school road,” she added. “I just ask that the council give some consideration to raise the 15 mph in the school area to 20 mph, lower our area to 15 or put more signs in the area.”

City administrator Robin Leslie agreed this area of town has issues and it has not been overlooked.

“We ran out of money for additional signage last year,”?she explained. “We wanted to get major intersections equipped with stop signs and additional yield signs in that southwest quadrant of town.”

Leslie adds that she has heard complaints about the new speed limit near the school as well.

“I agree with your assessment,”?mayor Ron Gaines said. “I think we should think about making the whole southwest quadrant 20 mph.”

The council also scheduled an item on the agenda to share their goals and priorities for the city.

“I?asked everybody at the last meeting to consider their goals and what they consider a priority,”?Leslie said.

Some of the main goals were to work on the demolition of the Frank Brothers Elevator, continue on the safe routes to school, work with USC on the old school site and more.

However, one topic that seemed to be reoccurring was city and community interaction.

Leslie stated that she hoped to improve city government transparency.

“We currently have the minutes from our meetings on the website, but I would like to have council packets available in case any citizens want to look it over before the meetings, it would be available for them,” she explained.

Council member Whitney Warmka also hoped for a little more interaction from the community and expressed that as one of her priorities, as well.

“I would like to encourage more community engagement,”?she said.

John Herman said he would like to see the fence zoning issue readdressed as a priority.

“We will be having a public hearing on that at our February meeting,”?Leslie added.

In other business:

An update was given on the two dogs who had been designated as dangerous animals.

One has been removed from the city and has been moved somewhere in Illinois.

Another still has not met all of the requirements of the dangerous animal designation.

“I?want the issue taken care of before spring,”?council member Ashley Seedorf said. “Otherwise, we will just have the same issue.”

The council discussed how to proceed with the case and agreed they would hold the dog for 14 days and then would have the dog euthanized if the proper steps were not taken.

The council discussed how to proceed with the ITC staging site after it was brought to their attention that they would need a conditional use permit to continue using it. The site is currently zoned as agricultural land.

“We don’t agree with the CUP; either we should rezone the area or annex it into our jurisdiction,” Leslie explained.

The council took no action on that issue but will take the options into consideration.

The fire department is still in need of a new aerial truck. Leslie informed the council that when they had begun looking for trucks the lowest they found was $400,000. However, now the lowest is $650,000.

She asked how high the council was willing to go in order to replace the old aerial truck which the fire department is currently using.

They said to look for a variety of prices from $550,000 and up so they could have plenty of options to look at as they consider bonding for that vehicle.