$1 million grant approved

RANCHESTER — Ranchester Town Council took one more step toward further downtown development with approval of a $1 million grant application to the Wyoming Business Council for a Community Readiness Grant at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.

The grant would fund phase 2 of the Downtown Development Plan that was created in 2009, Town Engineer Chris Johnson said.

“This will basically develop the property across the street from the Information Center into a Main Street mercantile, farmers market and parking area,” Johnson said.

Johnson will submit the grant next week. Grant awards will be announced in January 2014, and construction on the new development could potentially be completed by the end of 2014.

County Public Works Director Rod Liesinger presented information about available funding to install a railroad quiet zone at the crossing on Five Mile Road (County Road 120A) northwest of Ranchester. Installing a flag and other safety devices at the crossing would eliminate routine horn blasts at the crossing, allowing trains to only sound their horns in emergencies.

The Council previously asked Johnson to research possibilities with the county for a quiet zone on Five Mile Road, and the county found up to $62,000 of funding from the Wyoming Department of Transportation that would require a 25 percent match in funding.

“The issue lies with whether the town wants to absorb that short portion of county road or leave it as a county road,” Johnson said.

Liesinger said the county would prefer to have Ranchester take over maintenance and ownership of the quiet zone and approximately 600 feet of county road surrounding the crossing.

Johnson will do more research about whether the road is wide enough to accommodate the quiet zone and how it will impact area traffic, including farmers and ranchers who use it for cows and equipment, before further discussion.

In other business:

• The Council approved four 24-hour bar days in the remainder of the year, one for each bar and a collective day for all bars. The 24-hour bar days will be Aug. 31, Oct. 5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 31.

• Council members approved purchase of new computers and printers at Town Hall at an amount not to exceed $3,059. The new computers are needed to handle a necessary software upgrade, and the new printers are needed to print water bills, Town Clerk Teri Laya said. The $18,000 cost of the software upgrade will be waived since Ranchester Town Hall is a longtime customer.

• Kendal Walters proposed building and installing a picnic table at Wondra Park to complete his Eagle Scout project. Walters will raise the necessary funds for the table and will build it himself. The Town Council approved the project and offered to have the town pour a concrete pad for the table.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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