BEATRICE – Beatrice elected officials have authorized a grant application to the State of Nebraska, for a downtown streetscape planning study.
The city council voted Monday night to support the application for $18,000. Mayor Stan Wirth says the effort is an attempt to define what improvements or changes should be undertaken to improve the appearance of the downtown.


"I think it's a great idea to, at least get the overview of what somebody else thinks, as opposed to just going out and doing something, and wish we hadn't", Wirth said.


Discussions began several months ago between the City of Beatrice and Main Street Beatrice, initially on possible changes to increase parking in the downtown area. The decision was made to take a more comprehensive approach to changes that would make the downtown more attractive to people.
City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer said several years ago, a consultant study examined some possibilities for the downtown area.


"We have some of the drawings or designs that came through from RDG when we did the downtown revitalization plan in 2011. Now, whether we continue to sit back and explore those or there are some new concepts...those are what we're going to look at here. So, in your budget this year, we had budgeted to do a downtown streetscape plan. I think the last one was done by Main Street sometime in the late 90s, I believe. It's been a while", said Tempelmeyer.


In other action Monday night, the council approved a policy for tobacco use on public properties, placing some restrictions on tobacco use and e-cigarettes in some public park areas, mainly where children frequent.


Officials also established a Property Assessed Clean Energy District to encompass the city and its two-mile zoning jurisdiction. The move allows commercial entities to apply for PACE financing for energy improvements.


The council approved an agreement for services with StreetScan, Inc., to provide for data collection and formation of a pavement management plan.