$90K study for State Hospital approved

Evanston Community Development Director Rocco O’Neill requests approval from the Evanston City Council on May 18 to spend $87,500 in grants to study possible uses for the Wyoming State Hospital’s old campus buildings. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — The Evanston City Council meeting on May 18 was relatively short with only one additional resolution added to the agenda at the start of the proceedings.

City attorney Dennis Boal opened the public hearing, which was first on the agenda. The hearing involved an application for a liquor license transfer from Fraughton Enterprises LLC. dba: Last Chance to Fast Stop 1138, Inc. dba: Fast Stop. Boal said all legal requirements and publication of notices had been completed.

Fast Stop Vice President Robert Wilcox told the council, “We have stores in Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. Everything at this store will remain the same. We want to create jobs and we give full benefits to our employees including eyeglasses, dental, life insurance and retirement. Our goal is to pay it forward and help the communities that help us.”

When no one else asked to speak at the public hearing, Boal closed the hearing. The council then voted unanimously to approve the transfer.

The first item under the consent agenda was a street closure/open container request from Urban Renewal for the Renewal Ball, which will take place on Saturday, June 12, beginning at 1 p.m. on Main Street between Harrison Drive and 9th Street.  

Leslie Lunsford with the Urban Renewal committee told the council, “Because of COVID, we decided to have an outdoor dance and celebration. We are calling it ‘Renewal Ball presents: Come Together.’ We will also have an online auction to raise funds.”

The second request was from the Evanston Liquor Dealers Association for extended hours in 2021 for Wyoming Downs’ closing weekend of Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021;  Labor Day weekend, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021; Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021; and New Year’s Eve, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021.

The two items under the consent agenda were unanimously approved by the council. 

A third and final reading on amending Ordinance 21-03 to modify the definition of restaurant was unanimously approved by the council.

The Council then considered the five resolutions on the agenda.

Gary Welling from the Airport Board asked that the council sign off on the agreement (Resolution 21-33) with the Federal Aviation Administration for grant funds to rehabilitate runway 5/23, reconstruct runway 5/23 lighting and construct taxiway A4 at the Evanston Airport.  

“This grant is 100% FAA funding with no match required,” Welling said. “We have until June 13 to decide and sign for the grant. This will bring the runways up to the 12-inch-thick design and will allow bigger and heavier airplanes. The frequency of use is the issue with asphalt; it needs time to cool between planes. We had a pre-conference hearing yesterday and there were eight companies up there on a tour so I think we should get some good bids.”

Evanston Parks and Recreation District Director Scott Ehlers asked the council to approve Resolution 21-34, the operating agreement between the City of Evanston and the Parks and Recreation District. Ehlers made a point of telling the council that the district mows and irrigates more than 200 acres in the city.

Evanston Community Development Director Rocco O’Neill asked the council to approve Resolution 21-35, an agreement with Myers Anderson Architects PLLC to provide an assessment and feasibility study for repurposing the historical Wyoming State Hospital campus. The proposed cost for the assessment and planning development of eight buildings is $87,500.

“The objective is to showcase the facilities as a campus. We will eventually put out an RFI for 600,000 square feet of usable space. The cost of this agreement is right at the amount of dollars we have from the city and county and grants,” O’Neill said.

Mayor Williams added, “The key is to be able to use them. We would like a tour of the buildings, Rocco.” O’Neill agreed to schedule a tour for the council.

City grant writer Mieke Madrid asked the council to authorize a grant application (Resolution 21-36) to the Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) for the Evanston’s lighting retrofit project to upgrade the existing fluorescent lights in the Machine Shop and part of the Roundhouse.

“By replacing these bulbs it will reduce maintenance costs significantly — a 20 to 25% savings annually and the new bulbs extend the life of the ballast because they are not as hot. There is a $20,000 cost estimate for the bulbs and we would only need a 10% match. We may need to replace 10% of the ballasts at a cost of $10 each,” Madrid said.

Evanston Senior Planner DuWayne Jacobsen asked the council for approval of Resolution 21-37, approving and authorizing the final plat for the Maverik Evanston addition.

“This is the expansion of the Maverik store on County Road. They are now ready to move on their improvements of the gas station, put in an RV drop station and add more fuel pumps.  This addition includes the adjoining two lots into their subdivision. They will have to do a zone change on both lots but it will comply with the minimum size requirements,” Jacobsen told the council.

The council unanimously approved each of the five resolutions presented (21-33 through 21-37).

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