The first meeting of the Columbia City Council with Gene Ebersohl as interim mayor was business as usual.
In an administrative action, the first agenda item vote corrected an inadvertent omission of bond fund abatement for the Creekside Park development.
The council also voted to dedicate parcels of city-owned property as “right-of-way” for the GM&O Heritage Trail.
In the agenda packet, Columbia City Administrator Doug Brimm advised that “converting these parcels to right-of-way will enhance the city’s stewardship of this property by enabling additional grant opportunities.”
The trail was a matter of recent concern for Columbia Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Chairman Joe Sander. He sent an advisory letter to the council asking them to protect the trail’s future as a response to rumors of development on South Main Street near Route 3 on property that abuts a proposed addition of the trail.
The next two items involved the Walnut Ridge Estates subdivision, currently under construction.
The council was set to approve the final plat at the March 1 meeting, but a discrepancy was found in the city code regarding issuance of performance-based bonds after construction has begun.
The council voted first to approve a variance allowing issuance of the bond and then approved the final plat of the subdivision.
The council then approved perfunctory resolutions to release funding for the Gall Road and Main Street Streetscape projects.
The last item before closed session involved Independence Day celebrations in Columbia.
Brimm advised the council would need to decide by April 1 if and when a city fireworks celebration can occur.
To allow enough time to schedule transportation, the business supplying fireworks would need to know if they planned on a July 4 celebration or one on Labor Day.
Several aldermen said July 4 was their preferred choice.
Ward III Alderman Jeff Huch said there should be no reason to delay the celebration in light of the “track we’re on” and everyone tentatively eligible for vaccination in May.
“If people are uncomfortable going to an event like that, they can stay home,” Huch added.
Brimm added he would seek “concurrence from the Monroe County Health Department,” and relay the July 4 date to the appropriate parties.
Other business included discussion of a plat change in the Christian Kaemper addition to facilitate in-fill development of the former Breitenstein property between East McKee Street and Daab Street along North Briegel Street.
After brief discussion, it was determined the council will vote to approve the changes at its next meeting.