Hometown Pride sees progress on housing and boot projects

Members of the Sidney Hometown Pride installed a new 8-foot boot on the square in Sidney July 27 as part of the boot project. Anne Wederquist painted the boot. (Photo Page County Newspapers)

Members of Sidney Hometown Pride met outside at the Sidney City Park on July 21, to enjoy nature while taking care of business and maintaining social distance. The members updated each other on various projects, and were happy to note some progress on the boot project and the housing project.

Dick McClure is the lead on the boot project, and he told the others another 8 foot boot was painted and waiting to be clear coated. McClure hoped it would be clear coated yet that week, and the group could get it installed on the square before the Sidney Rodeo. This boot, painted by Anne Wederquist, will go up on the square near Penn Drug.

McClure said there were also four 3 foot boots that needed to be hung. The group has the hardware to get them hung, but needs to find a time to do it.

Brennan Vaverek and Terry Graham are the leads on a housing project and also had good news to share with the group. Vaverek said he had met with Rural Housing 360 and they had a builder lined up who wanted to build two duplexes in Sidney. It wasn’t set in stone, but looked promising, provided the builder could get the appraisals and setbacks needed from the city. Vaverek explained that Sidney has some robust setback ordinances that can make it difficult to attract builders.

If the builder is able to proceed, the units he plans to build would be 1,000 square feet per side, with a full unfinished basement and one car garage. They would be located on property at West and Clay Streets. This property was purchased by a group of 11 citizens who all threw money in a pot over a year ago to buy properties, in hopes of facilitating development of housing in Sidney. This group will sell the property to the builder and he will take it from there.

Ken Brown talked briefly about progress on the Rodeo Parade, saying so far he had about 25-30 entries, plus all of the rodeo groups. Brown said a $1,000 Fremont County Tourism Board grant was received to help promote the parade and make it happen. He was pleased to announce that he had just been told the Sidney School Marching Band will be able to play in the parade after all, something that had been doubtful because of the coronavirus.

Brown indicated some of the shine and show car show vehicles might join the parade, and a local ATV/UTV group would send some representatives in. Omaha Pipes and Drums is coming again this year, and Brown said they were already planning to attend again after the parade last year. 

Brown said he did still need an announcer for the parade, and the group suggested several names of people who might do it and would have voices that would carry. Several local coaches and an auctioneer were mentioned.

McClure offered his convertible for use in carrying the grand marshals in the parade.

Brown noted that none of the town’s Hometown Pride groups had entries in the parade for some reason, and the group agreed Sidney Hometown Pride should do something in the parade. Brown also said he had been asked if it was okay to toss candy to the kids on the sidewalk if the parade entrant was walking. Brown said that was okay, as long as it was pre-packaged, and the candy was going to the kids, not being dropped out in the street where they would run out and could get hurt.

McClure mentioned he had been contacted by someone wanting a dump station for campers in Sidney. The group said there was one behind the open class building on the fairgrounds, but it was pointed out that it couldn’t be accessed because there was a camper parked in the way that had been there for at least a year. The group considered other locations one could be put in and how much it might cost to install. The county roadside campground was considered, among other locations.

In other business:

• The group approved changes to the bylaws;

• Graham told the others the county website was still being tested;

• The Safe Route to School project is stalled while funding is sought;

• The group will sell popcorn, cotton candy and drinks at the Sidney Battle with the Bulls event on Aug. 28 and Aug. 29;

• A spot has been chosen for the second welcome sign at the junction of the bypass and Highway 2 east of town;

• The group will continue to welcome new businesses as they are able to do so;

• The group will start putting meeting notices in several Sidney businesses, as well as on Facebook;

• Photos are still needed for the enclosed trailer wrap, and the group will talk to some local photographers, and

• The group will try to get a grant to arrange a health fair later in the year.

The Sidney Hometown Pride group meets next on Aug. 18.

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