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Colby approves parking lot expansion at library

The donors who helped bring about the Colby Community Library are pitching in more money to provide additional parking spaces for the busy building.

Mary and Allen Singstock and Jim and Pam Vorland — the descendents of library booster Pearl Vorland — recently wrote a letter to city officials offering to pay for 28 new parking stalls to the south of the existing 30-stall lot.

“As predicted, the library has become a busy gathering space for numerous programs and events sponsored by the library,” the family wrote, adding that the 30 existing stalls are “inadequate for the number of people visiting the library and attending community functions.”

At its March 3 monthly meeting, the city council approved a $16,500 contract with MSA Professional Services to design the parking lot expansion. Cedar Corps, the firm that designed the library building, also submitted a quote, but it was $200 more than MSA’s.

The Vorland family will be covering the full cost of designing and building the parking lot expansion, so the city will not have to pay any of the expenses.

Later in the same meeting, library director Vicky Calmes underscored the CCL’s heavy traffic while giving an annual report to the council. According to her numbers, the library saw 44,530 visits in 2019, with 78,805 items checked out.

That represents 30 percent of all the items checked out among Clark County’s 10 libraries. The CCL also hosted 315 youths during its 2019 summer reading program, as well as over 4,500 children, teens and adults for over 100 different programs held throughout the year.

Other business

_ The city’s planning committee held a mandatory public hearing as an update on a Community Development Block Grant that was used to partially fund a pair of water projects last year.

The grant helped pay for a new uranium removal system at Well 14 and new transmission lines from Wells 9 and 12, which had rising levels of nitrates before being mixed with water from other wells.

So far, a total of about $284,000 CDBG funds have been spent, with just under $116,000 remaining. August Winter and Sons was paid $182,000 for the Well 14 portion of the project, while Pember Companies has been paid $382,000 for installing the water transmission lines.

The city is still withholding about $15,000 from Pember until it get its nitrate analyzer working to meet DNR requirements. DPW Harland Higley said the company has been given until March 23 to get the analyzer working, or the city will ask for a refund and install an analyzer from a different company.

_ Sixth Street resident Mike Kreciak once again spoke to the council about his neighbor’s dog being unleashed and urinating and defecating on his property. He said it took four attempts to get the police to respond to his latest complaint, and he wondered why his neighbors have only been cited twice even though he has over 60 videos of the dog violating the law.

_ City clerk Connie Gurtner said she would look into the process for vacating an alley after Ald. Lony Oestreich said he was interested in buying a lot across the alley from his house and building a garage on it. City ordinance prevents garages from being built on residential lots that don’t have a primary building, so Oestreich will have to combine the lots in order to proceed with his plans.

The alley is not currently used, said Oestreich, who plans on accessing the garage from Wausau Street.

Gurtner said vacating the alley will require notifying neighboring property owners and holding a hearing. If approved, the 16-foot wide alley would be split down the middle, with property owners on each side getting eight feet.

_ Members of the Colby Cub Scout Pack and their parents attended last week’s meeting to observe how local government works while earning their civics badges.

_ The council approved a temporary beer license for the St. Mary’s Knights of Columbus to serve beer at their Lenten fish fries on March 6 and 20 and April 3.