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(Nebraska City) -- Nebraska City officials are making it easier for the community's merchants to set up displays on sidewalks.

At its regular meeting Monday evening, the Nebraska City City Council approved a resolution repealing and replacing a section in city code regarding sidewalk obstruction permits and exemptions. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Tuesday morning, Nebraska City Mayor Bryan Bequette says the new language, which replaces the existing section dating back to the 1930's, allows businesses to place items on sidewalks, providing they meet certain criteria.

"If you have a sidewalk obstruction, and you're going to put something out on the sidewalk," said Bequette, "we need to make sure you still have distance for pedestrians, and things like that, so businesses can put in a request for that, pay a $100 fee, and then our zoning inspector will go out and make sure that their plates and objects don't obstruct pedestrian traffic."

Bequette says the amendment also contains provisions for downtown businesses.

"Our downtown C-2 business district can get waivers on things like putting flower planters, benches and things like that immediately outside their storefront area to make it more of a main street feel," he said. "So, they can do a one-time (application) that's perpetual on that--they don't have to renew that each year. That's also a $100 fee. Businesses that do have obstructions in the sidewalk area can then renew each year for $50. So, we just cleaned up those parts of it."

Bequette expects at least four businesses to take advantage of the new regulations, once they take effect upon publication.

In other business, the council approved a contract and notice to proceed with Pavers, Incorporated of Waverly, Nebraska totaling more than $339,000 for the 16th Street improvement project. Bequette says the project includes new paving, curb and gutter to compliment the renovated bridge on that street.

"We redid the bridge last year," said Bequette, "the bridge that crosses North Table Creek as you come into town on Business 75 on the north side there. This will take from that bridge that crosses North Table Creek down to about 1st Avenue, and it will improve the sidewalks, the curbs and the top overlay on that section of 16th, which is one of our arteries as it comes into town."

In other business, the council approved a change order for the fire station renovation project, deducting more than $3,100 for duct work. Commissioners also approved the elimination of daily overdue fines for library materials, and the forgiveness and waiver of all outstanding debt accrued on patron accounts. You can hear the full interview with Bryan Bequette here:

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