The following questions were asked recently on the Wonderline:
Q: After reading the Wonderline question and answer about “what went on at the auditorium” last month (as far as bookings, events, etc.), I’m sure a lot of us would be interested in what went on at the Holthus Convention Center last month and the past few months too.
A: Terri Carlson, director of the Holthus Convention Center, provided the following information, regarding events held at the convention center.
June: Weddings – 7; baby shower – 1; anniversary party – 1; meetings – 22 (several multi-day); conferences – 3; UNL Athletics open house
July: Weddings – 2; bridal/baby showers – 2; baptism reception – 1; meetings – 13 (several multi-day); conferences – 1; Transportation Exploration; SCC – Ran 2 classes
August: Weddings – 6; wedding rehearsal/gift opening – 3; meetings – 18 (several multi-day); conferences – 2; SCC – Ran 1 class
“From October 2017 through September 2018 the Holthus Convention Center will have hosted over 450 weddings/meetings/conferences/etc., with over 45,000 people walking through our doors. Every Saturday during that timeframe had at least one, if not more, bookings. Leading into our next fiscal year (October 2018 through September 2019) the convention center already has events booked on 39 out of 52 weekends.
“Summer is generally slower for meetings and conferences because most of the state associations do not meet over the summer. Those meetings are already beginning to pick up in the month of September and will continue through next spring.
“Some of the associations that we are currently working with and have worked with in the past are the Nebraska Trucking Association, Nebraska Land Title Association, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Association of School Boards, Nebraska Dental Hygienists’ Association, Nebraska Game and Parks, Nebraska Arborist Association, Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association, Nebraska Rural Health Association, Alzheimer’s Association, Nebraska Association of County Clerks, just to name a few.
“In addition to the various associations, we have a large number of local and regional businesses that host regular meetings at the convention center. Ag and healthcare related businesses and organizations lead our list of clients.
“Fall sees an increase in public and community events. In the month of October we will be hosting the Midwest BBQ Association State Finals on Oct. 6, Czech Festival on Oct. 21, Haunt at the Holthus on Oct. 28 and Crossroads Junk and Vintage Market Holiday Edition on Nov. 10. The month of November is also host to numerous annual fundraisers for various organizations within our community. These events will continue into the first of the year.”
Q: I know the city of York owns the softball complex. Do they also own the football field and Levitt Stadium? If so, what does it cost in employee time and supplies to fertilize, water and mow those facilities? What does the city charge YPS and York College to use these fields?
A: Cheree Folts, director of parks and recreation, said, “The city owns the nine city parks which includes Levitt Stadium and the football field that are located at East Hill Park. The city maintains the outfield of the baseball field which is also the football field. York College Baseball and Legion Baseball take care of the infield. York Public School is charged $300 for the initial football field set-up, then $30 a week until football season is complete. York College pays a $10 per player fee along with doing all the in-field maintenance. It cost the city roughly $200/week to maintain the field, $216 a year to fertilize, and $1,750 a year to water.
Q: Is it true that the city administrator took it upon himself to spend $10,000 for a consultant to help him hire a new police chief back when that position was vacant? Why couldn’t he and the civil service commissioners just whittle down the candidates themselves?
A: In late August, 2017, York City Administrator Joe Frei told the city council that he had hired a consultant from Texas to assist in the process of hiring a new police chief.
“The cost will be $11,500, but we want to hire the right police chief,” Frei said to the council at that time. “I asked other police chiefs from other area communities to assist me, but we have applications from people in those other communities, so they couldn’t help because of a conflict of interest. I know it is rather expensive, but we have one chance to do this, we want to do this right and that’s why I hired (the consultant). In all of my career, I’ve never hired a police chief. This is a different type of personnel and the person needs to really fit with this position and with this community.”
Q: Earlier this year, the YNT reported that a new business, Code 504, was coming to York. The location was behind Janssen Ford and Pyramid Tarps. What happened to this business coming to York? The lot is back up for sale and it does not appear Code 504 is moving to York. Has anything ever been said about this, on the record, by the city administration?
A: On June 7, York City Councilman Ron Mogul asked Mayor Orval Stahr (during the public forum portion of that night’s city council meeting), “What happened with Code 504?”
And Mayor Stahr responded, “When the developer looked at the cost of infrastructure, he decided he wouldn’t proceed. We contacted him about not incurring all the costs and we talked to him about TIF incentives as well.”
That’s all that has been said on the record.
Q: Isn’t it true that the City of York’s park and recreation director was named as the best in the state? I think that should be remembered, when we are talking about cutting parks and recreation offerings that are so important to the citizens of this city. Obviously, if we have the best in the state running our parks and recreation department, that should be a statement of how well that department is being run and how good that department is for our city.
A: Cheree Folts, York’s parks and recreation director, was named the best in the state, in her field, in 2015. She was named as the Outstanding Recreation Professional by the Nebraska Parks and Recreation Association.
Q: In regards to the recall of local elected officials, I was wondering if the York News-Times will be publishing the locations of the recall petitions because I can’t wait to stand in line and sign them. I would love to sign those petitions.
A: At this time, there are no active petitions seeking the recall of any local elected officials.
As far as the newspaper publicizing the locations of those petitions – if a recall effort of any kind ever takes place, it is up to the petitioners (the person or people circulating the petition) to make the public aware of their locations if they choose to do so. It is the circulator/circulators’ responsibility to do so.
Q: I was wondering if the $1 million lottery winner, who bought the million-dollar ticket at the Good2Go Travel Center in York, ever came forward?
A: It appears that this $1 million winner has not yet come forward. The ticket was sold on July 21. The winner must come forward in a 180-day time period in order to claim the winnings.