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Interlocal agreement on riverfront project passes at NRD meeting

November 22, 2018

The Norfolk Riverfront Trail was again subject to extended discussion at Tuesday night’s regular meeting of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.

At issue was the motion to approve the interlocal agreement for the Norfolk Riverfront Trail.

Discussion began after Mark Hall made a motion to amend the original motion to allow the NRD to receive 33.3 cents for every $1 in grant money received in the project, versus waiting until the private sector receives the full amount.

The motion was seconded by board member Chad Korth.

NRD manager Mike Sousek said the way the agreement is structured, the NRD would receive 50 cents of every $1 after the trail project is paid for.

Hall questioned what would happen to the NRD’s promised funding if the city didn’t get the needed private funding secured.

The riverfront trail project will receive $1.032 million from the NRD, divided over four years — 2019-22. That amount will cover one-third of the $3 million project, with the other two-thirds coming from the private sector and a source to be identified by the City of Norfolk.

“If the city doesn’t get the private funding, the project doesn’t happen. If they raise more than ($1 million), we get 50 cents on every dollar,” Sousek said.

Hall questioned whether the city would have incentive to solicit $1 million if they know they will get that funding in grant applications.

Sousek said the city does have “a lot of incentive, and they are soliciting” and has already secured private funding.

He said the motion for the agreement is to keep the City of Norfolk and the NRD as equal partners throughout the project.

Board member Joel Hansen said the city would benefit as much as the NRD if the city raises $1 million in the private sector.

A vote was taken on Hall’s amendment, with Hall, Korth, Jerry Allemann and Matt Steffan voting to approve.

Board members Bob Noonan, Gary Loftis, Scott McHenry, Joel Hansen, Kurt Janke, Robert Huntley, Dave Kathol, Dennis Schultz, Jill Barr and Aaron Zimmerman voted against the amended motion, and the motion failed.

There was more discussion before the vote on the original motion.

Sousek said there is a lot of incentive for the private sector to get the riverfront project done.

“They are the ones pushing for it. They were the ones showing up at our meetings. They want it done for their own employees, to keep them here,” Sousek said.

All board members voted to approve the original motion, except for Hall, Korth, Alleman and Steffan.

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