It was a standing room only crowd at Tuesday evening’s North Webster Town Council meeting. North Webster Church of God packed the house in an effort to have part of Ward Lane, a town alley, vacated.
Ward Lane cuts the church’s property in half east and west. This vacation had been asked for several years ago and was denied. It was approved this time with a vote of 2-1. Council president Jon Sroufe and council woman Lisa Strombeck said yes while Tim Hine voted no.
Vacated property included the alley Ward Lane from North Street to First Street extension, part of Harrison Street that was platted but has never been developed and part of an unnamed east-west street that runs between the church parking lots.
At one point Sroufe asked town attorney Jack Birch, “Do we have to make a decision tonight?” That was answered in the affirmative. “Decisions like this are never easy. Someone will always be disappointed,” stated Sroufe before the vote was taken. After the meeting Strombeck commented, “This was a tough one to decide.”
Represented by North Webster native and attorney Steve Snyder, the church is moving ahead with its plans to demolish its original church sanctuary building at the corner of North Main Street (SR 13) and West North Street. In its place a new building will be constructed for children’s activities and classes that will also serve the community as a place to gather, have coffee and socialize while children play on the proposed indoor playground, according to Senior Pastor Jeff Boyer. Snyder touted safety for children and adults as the major reason to vacate the alley.
Ward Lane resident and attorney Jay Rigdon spoke against the measure citing inconvenience, not only for his family, but others who live in the area. “We have very few north-south routes to get through town,” he noted. Emergency use of the alley by the police and fire departments was brought up by North Webster Police Chief Greg Church. In the end, the momentum of the project carried the day for the vacations.
In other business the council scheduled a workshop with Triad Engineering about the Knapp Lake Regional Sewer District project. It will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, in the party room of the North Webster Community Center.
Utilities manager Mike Noe reported plowing is ongoing and some lift station problems had been encountered. The salt supply is in good shape. “We appreciate what the guys have done to keep the streets clear,” expressed Sroufe.
Church asked for overtime for police officers of 275 hours for 2014 be approved. Last year the police department only used 178 hours of the same number of overtime hours. The council granted permission for the overtime and approved the chief to order equipment for the new police car being purchased.
There were 197 calls of service in December with citizen and agency assists and traffic related incidents being the bulk of the calls. Officers hours for December were 548.5 with 2,885 miles driven using 285.0 gallons of fuel.
The next regular meeting of the council will be 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, in the North Webster Community Center, 301 N. Main St.