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  • Kent Casson

Suggestions welcomed for stretch of highway

This area could be revitalized depending on suggestions from community members.

A facelift could be coming to a stretch of an old abandoned highway along the railroad tracks in Chenoa.

Parks Commissioner Chad Daiker told members of the Chenoa City Council Tuesday evening funds for tourism or economic development could be used for rehabbing the old section of Route 66 which has been closed for years. The area could serve as a photo opportunity for visitors and even include a picnic table and bench.

“We’ll see what we can get working,” said Daiker. “We are looking for something more permanent.”

The area near the railroad tracks would be cleaned-up and a small billboard could be placed there to get the attention of passing train passengers.

Daiker said he has talked with Finance and Insurance Commissioner Kyle Buchanan and area resident Sarah Michaels reached out about the stretch of road. Daiker encourages anyone with ideas for projects at the site to bring the information before the City Council with cost estimates included.

Changes to water disconnection dates were discussed by Water and Sewer Commissioner Joe Moreland, who proposed notices on the first Tuesday of each month and shutoffs on the third Tuesday – instead of Friday currently.

“If we shut them off on Tuesday, everybody knows the date,” explained Moreland.

“This will, in my opinion, make it easier on everyone in the end,” noted Mayor Chris Wilder who said he had no problem with these changes.

Council members also discussed future options for a garbage truck. The city has still not received an estimate to fully repair the current truck which is a 1996 model that is mechanically decent but “not the greatest,” according to the mayor. Wilder told the group the Village of Forrest is selling a 2009 Freightliner truck for $65,000.

“It currently does not have a wench for our four or six-yard dumpsters.”

Wilder hopes to make a decision within the next couple of meetings.

In another matter, the city attorney will be working on changes to zoning regarding what constitutes lot coverage. Zoning Board recommendations include gravel and rock for driveways and landscaping should not be counted in lot coverage but cement, asphalt and a deck would be coverage.

The Zoning Board has also amended its recommendation for lot coverage from 35 up to 50 percent since more items are now included such as driveways, sidewalks and pools. Another recommendation includes having a building permit printed so it can be displayed at the building site for the public to see.

“Any building is considered coverage,” observed Wilder.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Melissa Cooper of the Chenoa Shop-n-Go group listed several planned fundraisers including a car wash the group would like to do at the park using the city’s water.

“They can drive in off of Division Street,” Cooper stated.

“I don’t see any problem with it. You might want to talk to the new owner of (the former) library,” replied Wilder.

Shop-n-Go also wants to have donation buckets at the corner of Routes 24 and 66 on Aug. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and they will have yellow vests on. The group also announced plans for a ninja course for kids and a drone contest.

“It will be kids up to 17 years old,” Cooper told the council.

This year’s Shop-n-Go fall festival will be a two-day event Oct. 1 and 2 at the park. Cooper was told it would not be a problem to use Christ Community Church’s bounce house for this. She is asking for overnight security at the park but Wilder said it would depend on police staffing since they just lost another officer.

Resident Sally Decker expressed concerns over crop dusting near her home on the edge of town. She said they end up with chemicals in the yard and garden and her dog’s feet are yellow. Wilder believes this is something he can check into and it can be discussed at a later date.

“I know El Paso has an ordinance on that,” Decker said. “I have a garden and I don’t want my dog sick from it.”

Streets Commissioner Dwayne Price said workers have been busy with the storms that came through Saturday night and the community came together for cleanup.

“Thank you for coming and helping us out.”

Cleaning of debris is not going to happen overnight so the process continues. Price reminded everyone the city is not picking up brush and debris in a can due to workman’s compensation issues.

“Dump it on the ground and we’ll pick it up,” Price explained.

Price urges residents of Chenoa to only take yard waste to the city dump.

Mayor Wilder reported he received an e-mail from the treasurer and things look well for the city. He talked with the county last week about Division Street and as long as everything goes through, they have agreed to a joint effort to replace and repair drainage on Division between Lincoln and Owsley.

If the agreements proceed, they will pave from Route 24 to Owsley all the way out to the sidewalks.

“They’re willing to work with us,” said Wilder.

At the end of the meeting, Wilder expressed his appreciation for members of the audience being polite throughout the evening. He reminded residents the meetings have public comment periods which is when they can address the council.

“We have rules in place for a reason.”

Wilder said language used at the last meeting will not be tolerated.

“When we discuss an item, that is our time,” Wilder noted.

Before adjourning the meeting, Wilder announced his plans to run again as mayor for another four years. Petitions for the upcoming municipal election cycle will be available later this year with the election in 2023.

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