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Council Addresses Controversial Street Directional Change

Holden City Council members heard information about the proposed change in traffic to two-way on S. Market St. between 2nd and 3rd St., at their regular June meeting.

The issue has been very controversial, with parties on both sides of the issue voicing their opinions at the May council meeting.

A business in town has requested the street be changed from a one-way to a two-way thoroughfare.

Business owners on S. Market have argued that the measure would limit customer parking for their patrons.

The business that proposed the change, Central Bank, argues that the move wouldn’t negatively impact parking because they say not many patrons utilize parking on that particular street anyway.

At the June council meeting, Mayor Doyle Weeks introduced and read Bill No. 04-01-21, an ordinance changing the traffic from one-way to two-way.

The Mayor added that regardless of whether the bill passed or failed, it could not be brought to the city again for six months.

Council Member Julie Fields said that she would like to thank Linda Frazier of Country Creations for sending out letters about citizens’ and businesses concerns on the subject.

Councilman Jim McDaniel shared he had spoken with the City Engineer Travis Kiefer, who said if the city wanted the change they would have to pay for the cost of a traffic study.

Kiefer added that if a business had requested the change, that business would be responsible for the cost of a traffic study on the area in question.

Councilman McDaniel made a motion to table the issue until such time as a traffic study would be made available to council.

After a second and a vote, council approved McDaniel’s motion to table the ordinance.

Councilman Ray Briscoe cast the only descending vote, all others voted in favor.

Motion passed. In old business, Mayor Weeks asked for an update on the Chamber of Commerce’s new Cruise Nights, held downtown on 2nd St. Chamber member Lynette Zimmer told council the first Cruise Night, held at the first of June, was a success.

Cruise Nights are set for the first Friday of each month, from now through October.

Zimmer wished to thank the Holden Street Department and Police Department for their support of the event.

Zimmer also requested the City put the trash receptacles back downtown before the next Cruise Night, which is set for July 2.

She added the Chamber is looking for additional food trucks for the event so patrons wouldn’t have to wait in line so long.

Council Member Liz Weeks volunteered to help the Chamber find additional food trucks.

In new City employment news, two new employees were discussed.

Councilman Rusty Kephart reported on the Merit Board’s selection for a new police officer.

Kephart said the Merit Board felt good about hiring Officer John Doubledee, and they had no reservations about hiring him.

After a motion to approve the employment of Doubledee, followed by a second, all voted in favor of hiring him as an officer for the police department.

In other employment news, Mayor Weeks told council about a new part-time codes enforcement officer, Nick Martin.

The Mayor said Martin was hired for up to 32 hours a week part-time until he goes to the Academy.

Council voted unanimously to approve the hiring of Martin.

In Parks & Recreation business, board member Andrew Wakeman was present at the meeting to update council on park activities and business.

The first item Wakeman discussed was the Parks/Storm Water tax, which is set to expire in September of 2021.

Wakeman explained that Tracy Brantner of Johnson County Economic Development Corporation and Johnson County Clerk Diane Thompson were present at the June Park Board meeting to go over options for putting the sales tax measure back on the ballot for voters to decide on.

The Park Board would like to have the measure on the April 2022 ballot and asked council’s permission.

Wakeman said the only difference in this issue and the last one voters approved is there is no sunset on the sales tax.

It was mentioned that it is a no tax increase measure.

Wakeman added that the Park Board has fulfilled many of its promises because of this tax.

Wakeman went on to explain that the Park Board is developing a master plan for the future of the city park, and they are planning on promoting that plan and the tax renewal around November of this year.

In other Park Board news, Mayor Weeks inquired as to how much the park budget was.

Councilman Jeremy Knox, Park Board liaison, said that it is between $8,000-$14,000 on the high end.

Mayor Weeks asked the cost of the playground area.

Wakeman explained that $30,000 was from a DNR grant and the City’s cost was $170,000.

Wakeman finished his presentation by sharing a list of park events, with the next ones being the Chamber Rodeo (June 25-26) and the Spark in the Park event for the 4th of July.

See next week’s Image for continued council coverage, including committee reports.

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