Keep the Bricks on 5th Street between Jeffers & Dewey

Updating 5th street between Jeffers and Dewey was listed on the City’s one and six year road plan. According to a report in the NP Telegraph, “An overhaul of Fifth Street from Dewey to Jeffers could be on the schedule for the city of North Platte’s road department in 2015.” Read the whole article here.

One comment contained in the report that peaked my interest  and caused me to energize this site was:

“The infrastructure rebuild of Fifth Street would be similar to that done to the stretch of road immediately to the east of the proposed project, between Dewey and Bailey, that was completed in 2012.

“’Whether we do that or not, I don’t know,” Werblow said. “There’s a lot of issues with the downtown.’”

It is important for us to keep an eye on conversations about the streets in Down Town North Platte.  If you hear or ready anything let us know so we can provide an archive of information about the Down Town Bricks. Share information with us at bricks at savethebricks dot com.

 

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Bricks on Council’s July 19th Agenda (updated)

Word on the street is that action on a plan to re-do 5th street between Bailey and Dewey will be on the North Platte City Council’s July 19th agenda. We understand the City sent three designs out for bid. The City will receive bids on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. We understand one of the designs sent for bid used bricks in a diamond pattern down the center of the street. (See Concept 1)  (See Concept-2). We will do what we can to share information with you about the disposition of the plan to renovate 5th street. Share any information you have about the bricks by leaving a comment or email us at bricks@savethebricks.com

It is extremely important for you to contact your representative on the City Council and let them know how you feel about saving the bricks. Click here for Ward and Council contact information. Contact not only your Council representative but it is a good idea to contact all the members of the Council. Renovating 5th street between Bailey and Dewey will become the template for renovations of future Downtown streets. This is one reason this is an important issue for Downtown Renewal.

Please make plans to attend the July 19th City Council meeting. Your voice is important.

What can you do?

  • Contact members of the City Council
  • Talk with your friends and ask them to contact members of the City Council
  • Attend the July 19th City Council Meeting
  • Stay informed

Find more information online at the North Platte Bulletin. The Bulletin’s most recent story is here.

Don Kurre bricks@savethebricks.com

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Results Are In (updated)

The results from the North Platte Downtown Association Board Parking Survey were presented to Association members Tuesday morning at a special Association meeting.

The Association received 66 responses to the survey. When ask Kim Schroll, Association Secretary said the Association has 95 members. The survey results include responses from 11 non members.

With respect to closing the streets of the respondents 9% said yes and 53% no. With respect to the Canopies 14% said remove, 44% said leave them and 12% were indecisive. Regarding the bricks: 8% said save regardless of price, 56% Save what’s affordable and 17% said don’t save. In response to the question about the 2% Assessment 6% of the respondents said yes and 70% said no with 9% indecisive.

The report on the survey provided a review of the responses according to business location and building ownership. Results of Downtown Association Survey.

Story on the survey at the North Platte Bulletin.

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Council Discusses Plan for Downtown

The North Platte City Council discussed possible renovation to downtown, for the second time, during is March 3, 2011 work session.

Jerry Stoll, Ward 1, thanked the people who shared their questions and comments regarding his proposal. He clarified several components of the proposal he submitted at the previous work session.

Jerry distributed a new design drawing which more accurately reflected his proposal. The revised drawing showed that parking would be removed from Fifth Street between Jeffers Street and Bailey Street as well as on Dewey Street between fourth and sixth. The new drawing also showed the alleys downtown. The alleys would be used as passage ways from the parking lots and for additional venders.

Jerry said he did not know if removing parking would negatively impact downtown but he didn’t think so. The renovations would help make downtown a destination increasing the number of people who come downtown.

When asked about how the assessment would be applied to property owners Mr. Stoll said that was still to be determined. He thought the 2% assessment could be applied in the same way paving districts are established, that is based on benefit received.

Jerry also hoped the City would pursue appropriate grants to help fund the renewal.

Wednesday’s work session hope to address questions presented about the proposal. Further discussion and input on the proposal will be on the agenda for the next work session tentatively scheduled for March 15, 2011.  The Downtown Association will present the results of their member’s survey at that time.

Lisa Burke, Executive Director of the North Platte Lincoln County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Clarien Eickoff, President of the NPLCVB Board and Property Manager of the Platte River Mall spoke in favor of the proposal and encourage the Council to move the project forward.

Use of the bricks in downtown renewal is part of the Mr. Stoll’s proposal. However the use of the bricks was not part of the discussion at this particular work session. They will be part of the discussion at the next work session.

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One Response

In the survey the Downtown Association is conducting of members  the Downtown Association board is asking members what they think about the proposal put on the table by Council member Jerry Stoll. One question asks members their thoughts about the bricks. In my response I said: “As many of the bricks need to be saved and reused as possible. The bricks provide a link with our history and focus the character of downtown. For outside events like concerts the bricks provide a unique or distinctive sound quality that enhances the participants’ experience. My understanding is that there is no increased cost in using the bricks.”

I concluded my comments saying, “Let’s remove the canopies, use the bricks, spread the cost over the three proposed revenue streams and gather together to celebrate and grow downtown. We are worth it!”

Read all my comments at drku.org.
Don Kurre

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We Have a Plan!

I was encourage by the City Council work session Tuesday night (2/22/2011), we now have a plan on the table. During the work session Jerry stoll presented the Council with a plan to improve Downtown North Platte. (Click to enlarge the drawing.)

The comprehensive plan included creating a walking mall by closing streets, removing canopies,  and creating a focal point at the intersection of Dewey and 5th streets. Jerry’s plan will move help downtown become a destination.

It sounded to me that keeping at least most of the bricks was compatible with Jerry’s plan. Saving the bricks appears to be part of the tentative plan for the impending improvents on 5th Street between Dewey and Bailey that will be funded by a CDBG grant(Community Development Block Grant).

Steven Granger, Chair of the North Platte Historic Preservation Committee shared some reflections and drawings on improving downtown.  His proposals included removing the canopies to highlight the historical nature of the buildings that make up downtown. He did encourage the Council to take baby steps in improving downtown especially when it came to closing streets. (Two drawings courtesy of Steven Granger.)

Jerry proposed a combination of special assessment on downtown property and updating the phone tax as the way to fund this project. Combining a special 2% assessment and $250,000 from an updated phone tax would provided $330,000 for the project and $150,000 for the general fund representing a reduction in property tax of 1 mil.

Jerry asked the Council to reflect on the plan he presented and bring questions suggestions to the next work session for an in-depth discussion. Jerry proposed bringing in the Downtown Merchants once the Council had a working consensus on a plan. A series of public hearings would be implemented to finalize any plan for improving down town. However, with the deadline of September for using the current CDBG grant funding the Council will have to move forward on this project without delay.

Response to Jerry’s plan seemed positive to me and I think it was a great first step. After all, we do have a plan on the table!

You will find stories on the Council’s work session from KNOP, the North Platte Telegraph and North Platte Bulletin. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments. It is also important to talk with your Council Person. Share your thoughts and ideas on improving downtown North Platte. [Update 2/24] Story in the North Platte Telegraph by Diane Wetzel.

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Will You Join Us?

Downtown North PlatteDowntown North Platte is worth saving! Revitalizing the block on 5th street between Bailey and Dewey is the first step in saving and revitalizing downtown.  It’s time to revitalize downtown North Platte.

The City of North Platte received  a grant to fund improving  5th street between Dewey and Bailey. This section of 5th street is in desperate need of repair. The grant enables the City to take a significant step in revitalizing downtown by making the needed and long overdue repairs.

What the City does with this block will have a significant impact on future downtown improvements. What vision for the revitalization of  downtown will guide these repairs? The repairs the City  makes to this block of 5th street will set the tone and become a template for future action downtown.

While the clarion call is to save the bricks the deeper issue is how will we revitalize downtown North Platte? We face many questions. For example how do we save the bricks? What do we do with the canopies? Who will pay for it? These are just some of the questions we face. We can fight over who, what,  or how to renovate downtown and watch downtown rote into a distant memory.  Or we can join in planning for the renovation of downtown North Platte.

During a Work Session on Tuesday, February 22nd the North Platte City Council will review and discuss at least one plan for renewal of  downtown.  This work session provides us with an opportunity to take another step in saving the bricks and revitalizing downtown.  I want to encourage you to be part of the process to revitalize downtown by attending this meeting.

The next step to saving downtown North Platte is scheduled to be taken on Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30pm in City Council Chambers. Will you join us?

Don Kurre

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NP City Council to Discuss Downtown Streets

Downtown North PlatteThe North Platte City Council will consider the future of the streets downtown during a special work session Feb. 22. The work session is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers.

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Brown Bag Lunch about the History of the Bricks

Watch for a informative exciting brown bag luncheon at the North Platte Public Library on the history of our wonderful brick streets. George Lauby has put together a power point presentation along with history we will be reading and sharing. Check back for the date.

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Mr. Handsome: Get serious about your heritage or lose it

by Ben Schwartz
The North Platte Bulletin
11/18/2010

I’ve never been a fan of invoking the name or image of a dead

Ben Schwartz

person to further a cause.

Like, during the Republican debates when all the candidates trip over themselves to see who can refer to Ronald Reagan the most times in 30 seconds, as if Reagan’s name is a St. Christopher medallion that will protect them from not getting votes.

I always thought it was cheap, and creepy.

Turns out, I’d just never found the right cause or the right person. The cause is saving the bricks downtown, and the person is Arthur Hurd.

Most Bulletin readers have probably read the old news stories we’ve reprinted recently about Arthur and the bricks. Back in the 1910s and 1920s, Arthur was the fastest bricklayer in the state of Nebraska and, according to one article, he and his crew could knock out as much as a full block of brick-paved road in a single day.

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