Ralston City Council

Ralston took a step forward in its redevelopment plans for the downtown area when the City Council approved and adopted the Ralston Hinge master plan at its Nov. 19 meeting.

The Hinge Project has been in development for several years and was included in the city’s 2014 comprehensive plan.

The project is an economic development vision to develop the area around 72nd and Main streets so it serves as a connection between the Ralston Arena and the city’s downtown.

“This is not any specific piece or part but it’s the overall plan for the Hinge Project,” said Mayor Don Groesser. “I think it’s a great plan and it might not be the way it ends up at the end of the day, but it’s a start and gets us moving on.”

In other action, the council discussed and voted on the following:

• Ralston Fire Chief Kevin Eischeid gave the annual report for the Ralston Volunteer Fire Department. The 61 members of RVFD responded to 547 calls for the fiscal year from Nov. 1, 2018, through Oct. 31. The most frequent incident the department responded to were rescue and emergency services, which made up 79.5% of all calls.

• Baright Public Library Director Bailey Halbur presented the library’s annual report. Baright had 73,169 visitors during the year, 6,006 card holders and 82,385 items in their circulation collection. The circulation is up by 3,396 items from last year while the annual visitors was down by 707 from last year.

• Lucas Billesbach, city engineer at JEO Consulting Group, presented the findings of a condition assessment of all Ralston streets.

To conduct the study, JEO gathered data and assigned a rating of one to five for Ralston streets. A street with a one rating requires no maintenance, a street with a rating of five signals there is extensive damage requiring complete reconstruction.

JEO used a program which had a cell phone camera mounted on a moving car to capture street photos at around 10-foot intervals. The service then processes the images using artificial intelligence to assign a rating to the street.

The assessment found that 91% of streets in Ralston had a rating of one to three while the remainder rated four or five. The estimated total cost for repairs for all streets rated either four or five is $3.7 million. The estimated cost for all streets rated at a three is $7.4 million.

Belmont Drive between Country Club Road and Sunset Drive in addition to Sunset Drive between Park Lane and Belmont Drive are listed as the only areas with a rating of five.

• Billesbach also gave an assessment of the Ralston Arena sidewalks and parking areas. The next scheduled area to be improved is Arena Drive from the north end of the hotel driveway to the south entrance to the parking lot north of the arena building.

The estimated cost of the project is $405,730 and is scheduled to be completed in the summer or fall of 2020.

• Approved an annual maintenance agreement with the Nebraska Department of Transportation. Ralston will maintain 84th Street from the south city limits at Harrison Street to Q Street for the upcoming calendar year.

• Approved raising the spending amount on a employee recognition award dinner from $25 to $50 per person.

• Approved a special designated license for Village Bar to allow outdoor standing room for an event on Sunday.

• Appointed Jeremiah Omoto RVFD assistant fire chief.

The next regular council meeting will be Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Ralston City Hall.

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