Here are a few highlights from the June meeting of the Bennington City Council (full meeting minutes will be posted here, along with maps and other supporting materials):
Kempten Creek: The Council approved an agreement between the city and the developer for the new housing development south of Bennington Road at Johns-Bohn Park. The new development will be incorporated as an SID, which means it's not officially part of the city, but will contribute financially to the city's parks fund. The new subdivision will have connections on both Bennington Road and 156th Street. See page 57 of this document for a map of the new subdivision.
The passage of the agreement is an important step for finalizing the housing plan and clearing the way to begin planning for a new city park and youth sports fields along Bennington Road. Economic uncertainty has caused delays in both the housing development, the planning for the park, and the city's eventual purchase of the parkland. So far, sales tax revenue for Bennington has not declined. If this fortunate trend continues, we will be well positioned to continue with planning for the park.
156th Street: This project is now well behind schedule. OPPD has taken longer than anticipated to move electrical lines out of the expanded roadway. The primary contractor, K2 Construction, has reshuffled the schedule and started working on Bennington Road, rather than beginning at the bridge on 156th Street. In order to speed up work from now on, crews will often close both lanes, rather than just one at a time. A fully revised construction schedule is in the works; I will send that once it's available. In the meantime, you can join this Facebook group for updates directly from K2.
N. Molley Street: I'm continuing to pursue options for increasing pedestrian safety on N. Molley and Stark streets. Formerly a dead-end street, N. Molley is now connected to the new Prairie Hollow subdivision, where about 80 homes are planned. Many residents are worried both about more traffic and high speeds. I am advocating for the following:
- Reducing the speed limit to 15 mph. Even if drivers don't adhere, this raises the penalty for speeding.
- Installing one or more speed tables (similar to the one on N. 2nd Street). I'm meeting with the city engineer to consider placement options.
- Adding sidewalks so that pedestrians can stay off the street if they choose. This would be the most expensive and time-consuming option, and at least some of the cost would go directly to the property owners where the sidewalks would be installed. I have been polling residents about this option; it would take an official vote of property owners to install sidewalks.
If you are a resident of N. Molley or Stark and I haven't already knocked on your door, I would welcome your input on this issue.
Other business: Other items included:
- The Parks Department planted 66 trees in May. Thanks to the diligence of John Bohrer, Bennington's Director of Public Works, all of these new trees were purchased through grants.
- Bennington Public Library continues to offer curbside pick-up for checking out books. Families can also pick up activity packets for kids, and the summer reading program is underway, with prizes as always. Read more here.
- For the July 13 City Council meeting, the mayor said that he plans to convene a regular, in-person meeting rather than using the teleconference format.
Please, send me your ideas, questions, and concerns about the items above or any other topic. Stay cool!