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Bid disparity sparks sidewalk setback

Several Mitchell residents may avoid installing city-mandated sidewalks until next year.

After bids for four sections of Mitchell were returned to the city, a bid to install sidewalk on West Ash Avenue from Anderson to Ohlman streets and on South Edgerton from Ash to Cedar avenues caught Councilman Steve Rice's attention. The bid would have cost property owners $5 per square foot to install sidewalk while nearby property owners on South Burns Street from Cedar to Elm avenues would have to pay $3.60 per square foot.

Rice, who lives in the section where the more costly sidewalk was to be installed, suggested the city reject the bid from Big O Concrete and consider another bid for the section at a later date. Rice's suggestion received unanimous support from the Mitchell City Council at Monday night's meeting at City Hall.

Fellow Ward 1 Councilman Mel Olson ultimately motioned to approve the bids for three other sections, with exception of West Ash and South Edgerton, and said Deputy Public Works Director Terry Johnson could rebid portions of the section. Rice also asked if a bid could be put together by June 1, which Johnson said is possible.

Before the vote, Rice asked how he's supposed to justify the difference to people in his ward.

"So we've got a citizen living on one side of the (Patton Young) park and a citizen living on the other side of the park in this area paying 28 percent difference on a mandated city requirement," Rice said. "I don't think that's fair."

The sidewalk bids for Burns Street and two other areas—which include miscellaneous sidewalk and North Langdon Street from Wildwood to Oakmond avenues and Wildwood from Kimball to Langdon streets—were approved on Monday night. The North Langdon and Wildwood sidewalk will cost $3.70 per square foot and the miscellaneous sections will cost $4.20 per square foot as part of a years-long plan to install sidewalk throughout the city.

"When you presented the sidewalk plan—I forgot the timeline—but I'll be dead before we're done," Olson joked to Johnson. "So what difference would it make if I'm dead a little longer before we get this done?"

Olson said trying to convince people the positives of installing sidewalks is already a tall order, and seeing their neighbors pay a lower rate is to "throw fuel on the fire."

"When you have such wildly different bids in the same area of town, it's an impossible sell," Olson said.

Council President Jeff Smith agreed, saying the council could push the section to next year's plan if needed. He also noted the project would give property owners on West Ash and South Edgerton an "alert" to what the potential cost might be if they seek to hire a contractor to do the work instead of the city's contractor.

'One more attraction'

A new attraction will soon arrive in Mitchell.

Austin McPeek, of Palace City Pawn, was granted back yard, side yard and oversize variances, as well as a conditional use permit, to build a new building to move his North Main Street business to Sanborn Boulevard. And the building, which will be located across the street from Taco John's, will feature more than the typical pawn shop showroom.

McPeek said the new space will include a gun gallery that will include firearms used in the Battle of Little Bighorn and the Wounded Knee Massacre, among others, that have connections to chiefs Crazy Horse and Two Moons.

"Just history that pertains to our state, and I think it's something that will draw people to the city as well," McPeek said.

He said the guns were part of the personal collection of Wendell Grangaard, and approximately 20 would be featured in the 30-foot by 35-foot gallery. McPeek said the guns have "significant history" and would add "one more attraction" to the home of the World's Only Corn Palace.

"Well, I can see this showroom as being a real asset to our community, and it's probably one of those things that will pull people into town and give them another reason to stay longer and spend more money," said Councilwoman Susan Tjarks.

Consent agenda

The council approved the following items of the consent agenda:

• Minutes from the March 6 City Council, Feb. 27 Planning Commission and Jan. 18 Historic Preservation Commission meetings, as well as various department reports.

• Set 1:30 p.m. on April 11 for bid openings for the following items: rock chips, petroleum products, paving and overlay and a water and wastewater supply project.

• Gas and fuel quotes, pay estimates, bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires and authorization of payment of recurring and other expenses in advance as approved by the finance officer.

• Rice asked to have the building permit for the city's indoor aquatic center changed from the Mitchell Aquatic Club to the city of Mitchell to reflect the fact that the city is building the pool, not the club. Public Works Director Tim McGannon said the department would make the change.

Agenda items

The council considered the following agenda items:

• Held a Public Health and Safety meeting at 6:30 p.m. approve a pyrotechnics permit for the April 7 Hairball concert.

• Called the meeting to order, conducted the Pledge of Allegiance, heard an invocation and conducted roll call. Council members Marty Barington and Bev Robinson did not attend the meeting.

• Heard citizen input from Tjarks, who highlighted a successful Mitchell Show Choir Classic at the performing arts center over the weekend. Smith commended the Bridgewater-Emery boys basketball team for winning the Class B boys state championship, which capped off an undefeated season.

• Approved a noise permit application from Jeff Krall for a 30th anniversary celebration at 1 N. Harmon Dr.

• Approved the application of Imagine Guild Inc. for a special event liquor license located on Main Street by closing South Main Street from First Avenue south to Railroad Street from the half block west of Main to east of Main to Lawler. The license includes both city of Mitchell parking lots south of First Avenue and the closure of Main Street from First Avenue north to Second Avenue to park motorcycles and poker run entries. Also approved were a special liquor license and consumption, noise and poker run permits. In a previous article, The Daily Republic incorrectly reported Imagine Guild's donation request from the council. Imagine Guild's request for $1,142 was approved on Monday.

• Approved the application of Overtime Steakhouse & Sports Bar for a special event liquor license located at the Overtime Event Center at 812 N. Rowley St. on April 1 for a birthday party.

• Set April 3 as the date for a Board of Adjustment meeting to consider a conditional use permit request from Merlin Tingle to construct a multi-family dwelling at the 1800 block of Loma Linda Drive; A conditional use permit request from Vanessa Foley to operate a family residential child care center in a residence at 1319 E. Ash Ave.; A conditional use permit request from Darin Krogman to operate an automotive detailing business at his residence at 605 N. Duff St.

• Approved Resolution No. R2017-19, a replat of two lots in The Woods First Addition.

• Approved Resolution No. R2017-20, a plat of Lot 64 of Maui Farms Second Addition.

• Held the first reading on Ordinance No. O2017-02, which would repeal and replace a chapter of the Mitchell City Code to make the Airport Board an advisory committee.

• Held the first reading on Ordinance No. O2017-03, a supplemental appropriations ordinance.