Council discusses infrastructure issues

One of several infrastructure items to come before the Broken Bow City Council last week involves the City Square. The city plans to replace all four sidewalks leading up to the bandstand, and Street Superintendent Monte Clark says his department plans to accomplish that yet this season. There was also discussion on whether to leave the bricks in place between the curb and the sidewalk on the west, north and east sides of the square, or concrete all the way to the curb. Council President Chad Schall said he has heard from at least a half dozen residents who want the bricks left there. City Park Superintendent Dan Anderson, however, says those bricks are a real issue due to the way they were laid. He says the bricks frequently pop up, presenting a safety issue. They also will not sustain the same load as the sidewalks, which causes issues during special events in the square, as well as for city maintenance vehicles. “It becomes a matter of aesthetics versus functionality,” said Anderson. Mayor Cecil Burt agreed, adding that safety issues are his biggest concern. Council member Kelly Clay reminded the Council that those bricks were placed along the curb in the late 1980s or early 90s. At that time it was basically a mud hole between the sidewalk and the curb, and the city was able to acquire the bricks inexpensively so they were used. “These bricks aren’t of historical value, they were just to fill in mud holes,” said Clay. Council member Cody Schmick asked engineer Steve Parr if he had any thoughts on the discussion. Parr said he thought it made much more sense to concrete all the way to the curb. “It (the bricks) looks pretty, but it’s a maintenance headache,” said Parr. The Council members all agreed that they understand the historical significance of the brick streets around the square and the fact that this feature sets Broken Bow apart from other communities. However, those streets are not at all in question. The bricks in the square were only meant to be a temporary fix. The Council approved proceeding with replacing and repairing the sidewalks, but voted to table the discussion on replacing the bricks. The next meeting of the Broken Bow City Council will be Aug. 27 at noon.