BELOIT CITY COUNCIL – Wednesday, September 21, 2022

By Terry Bailey

The Beloit City Council met at City Hall Wednesday evening, September 21, to conduct the business of the City. Councilors Andrew Grabon, Todd Adolph, Jamie Meier, and Lee McMillan were present. Also in attendance were City Manager Jason Rabe, City Attorney Katie Schroeder, and City Clerk Amanda Lomax. Councilors Gretchin Staples and Tony Gengler were absent.
In opening comments all Councilors expressed appreciation for the recent rains with hopes they will continue on a timely basis.
City Manager said he had no new news to report on the status of the Water treatment plant/pipleline. He added the solar farm continues to operate as advertised. He said a class from Beloit High School will tour the farm as part of their study of alternative energy.
Rabe said City Engineer Stewart Porter has made revisions to the Walnut Street project to reduce cost but still address the needs of this transportation corridor. Rabe hopes this will allow new bids to be submitted that are more palatable to the City's budget. He did say, however, "We might have to bite the bullet on this project one of these days."
The working plans for the Safe Routes to School sidewalk program along 8th Street have been approved and work should start soon. There will be sidewalks on both the north and south sides of 8th Street from Hersey Street to the Banner. At that point there will be sidewalk only on the north side all the way to Casey's.
Rabe reported Emily Benedick is hard at work firming up plans for signage at the entry points into the City of Beloit and wayfaring signs within the City to direct visitors to places of interest within our town. This was a project that was gaining speed and was derailed by the pandemic. Benedick is hoping to get the project off the ground with progress soon.
Jesse Benedick was present to discuss plans to beautify the downtown area. He said that everybody believes we have an attractive downtown area, but improvements can be made. He talked about concrete planters for some of the downtown intersections. Plans are being made for low growth vegetation to add color but not so tall as to impede line of site. He said ideas are still being considered for ways to connect the downtown area with the Chautauqua Park. The railroad tracks and old buildings south of the track add complications for any plans along that route.
Benedick shared plans for the Green Space pocket park adjacent to Bubba Q's. At this point plans include a splash park, an amphitheater, portable movie screen, retaining walls along the perimeter of the area, bathrooms, picnic tables, and other amenities to make the park an attractive place to spend time on a regular basis.
When asked for a price tag for this addition to the downtown area, Benedick said, "We have a strong estimate of a cost of $500,000." He was quick to point out that grant funds hope to be secured to fund a goodly portion of the cost.
The Council approved an engineering agreement with Schwab-Eaton for work in the downtown park/plaza.
A special event license was approved for the Declue family reunion in the Chautauqua Park.
In the work session City Attorney Katie Schroeder conducted a review of laws and ordinances regarding e-scooters, e-bikes, mopeds, motorcycles, and motor driven cycles. These types of conveyances have gained popularity. She said an educational program will be conducted to educate young people and their parents about the laws and safety regulations regarding these items. Simple factors guide the use of any or all of these items: Wear safety gear especially a helmet, wear high visibility clothing, and obey all traffic laws.