(Lander) – The Lander City Council approved most of their Tuesday regular meeting agenda, but set one housekeeping item aside and will look into updating the city’s ordinance regarding the riding of bicycles in the downtown business district.
The latter topic generated the most discussion Tuesday night after Chisolm’s Jewelry owner Eric Olson complained about bicycle riders on the sidewalk. “People are nearly run over by these guys, it’s not good for business and most businesses think it’s a problem,” he testified. “We even walk our customers to their car now to protect them.”
Police Chief Jim Carey said the city’s present ordinance dealing with bicycle riding in the commercial district of the city needs to be updated because it’s too general, and he said the city lacks current signage that would advise bicyclists of the rules when riding downtown. Additionally, Carey said, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has jurisdiction on Main Street signage since the street is also U.S. Highway 287, and they are somewhat reluctant to populate the street with number of signs that would be required.
Carey also said he didn’t want to be in a situation where tickets that officers write for bicycle violations would not be prosecuted because of the vagueness of the city ordinance. “It’s not good business to write tickets that prosecutors won’t enforce,” he said. “We’ve done extensive education over the years about bicycle safety and how to ride in the commercial district.”
Olson agreed with the Chief about the education benefits, noting the problem wasn’t with younger kids, but with mid-20′s to 40′s men. “The kids walk their bikes down the sidewalk like they’ve been taught, it’s the older ones giving us the problem.”
While Olsen claimed he witnesses up to 15 to 17 bicyclists a day in front of his business, Chief Carey said a camera installed by his department in the 200 block of Main Street on three consecutive days took 7,000 photographs, and that only a few bicycles were photographed. “We had three on April 3rd, 4 on April 4th and 5 on April fifth, and four of those were children,” he said. “Of course that’s just one side of the street, so you could probably double those numbers.”
The issue will be further studied by the LPD and the issue brought back to the council at a later time.
Major items addressed, and approved, Tuesday included submitting a $50,000 grant application to the Wyoming Cultural Trust Grant Fund to assist in the planning and design of what is being called an innovative community collaboration center of the arts. The grant, if approved, would be matched with $50,000, including $17,678 in local in-kind matches and $32,322 in cash matches from a variety of sources to be provided by the completion of the project.
A second resolution approved Tuesday night gave the city’s support, for a second time, to a countywide vote in November for a general purpose one cent optional sales tax for local infrastructure needs. Specifically, funds generated by the tax would only be used by the county’s municipalities for streets, roads, bridges, water and sewer utilities. The council had earlier approved the resolution, but changes were made to the official document by the county commission, and it was necessary to review the proposal a second time. The city has cited need for street repairs and construction as a major use of the additional funds if the tax is approved by voters.
The council also approved the following agenda items:
– Appointed Tiffany Hartpence and reappoint Misty Atnip to four year terms on the Parks and Recreation Commission;
– Authorized a new hangar space land lease agreement for Ironman Aircraft Hangars, LLC, transferring lease from Steve Osborn;
– Approved a livestock permit from Otis Jones to keep calves on eight acres along a portion of Fremont Street;
– Approved a catering permit from the Hitching Rack to cater the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation banquet on the community center on April 21st;
– Approved a catering permit from The Forge to cater an event, “Forges Birthday Bash” on May 19th, at 202 Main Street;
– Approved the Phase II of the Lander Outdoor Theater Project;
– Accepted a $10,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation for a new skate park, and authorize Council President Nancy Webber to sign the grant agreement;
– Adopted Resolution 998 exempting a portion of North Second Street from the Open Container ordinance for an event;
– Tabled until a later meeting the City’s official voting delegate for the 2012 Wyoming Association of Municipalities Convention;
– Approved a pay request (#5) from Shepard Construction for the CDS Remodel project in the amount of $45,874.80;
– Approved signing Notice of Award for Lander Safe Routes to School;
– Approved Contractors Agreement for Lander Safe Routes to School;
– Approved change order #1 for the Lander Safe Routes to School project, decreasing the cost by $21,931.
– Authorized payment of Bills and Claims.