Council OK's $3.5 million park referendum for November ballot

By Patrick Fisher

The New Prague City Council unanimously approved a resolution at its meeting Tuesday calling for a $3.5 million park referendum on the November 2 general election ballot.

The referendum will be for an athletic complex to be built south of New Prague along Highway 13 and 15th Street SW (Le Sueur County Road 29). The plans for the complex, which will cover 40 acres, include an adult/Babe Ruth baseball field, four adult/youth softball fields, two full-sized soccer fields and an open fence baseball field that would also be part of a multi-purpose field. It also calls for redevelopment of the western portion of Memorial Park, beginning at the road leading into the park. The plans include a trail, a formal pedestrian entrance from Main Street that will line up with Pershing Avenue, a covered walkway near First Street SE, a bandshell, a ball field and more parking at the library. Also, the road between the Park Ballroom and the New Prague Golf Club would be reconstructed.

Both the athletic complex and Memorial Park redevelopment are scaled down plans from what had been originally proposed.

Council member Kay Wilcox said combined, the two projects would have cost more than $4 million. The park board had planned to reduce the bond for the referendum to $3 million, but due to costs the park board was asking the council to increase the bond to $3.5 million.

Wilcox said that was still a reduction of about 27 percent from the original cost.

With the $3.5 million bond, at a 20-year term at an estimated rate of 4.52 percent, the average annual property tax impact on a $100,000 house will be approximately $90. While for a $250,000 house the impact will be approximately $225.

Three informational meetings will be held concerning the referendum. The first meeting was held on Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. at the New Prague Library meeting room. The other meetings will be October 7 at 7 p.m. and October 26 at 1 p.m., both at the library.

Developer’s agreement

The council unanimously approved a request to amend a developer’s agreement. Randy Kubes brought the request before the council for Homefield Housing Subdivision, located next to New Prague High School. He was asking to allow for building permits since the majority of required improvements for the newest portion of the subdivision were completed. Included in the improvements was a lift station, which needed a certain part which Kubes said could arrive in the next few days. Kubes said he wouldn’t ask for any permits for occupancy until the lift station was completed.

New Prague City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack didn’t see any problems and the city has done it before. He said that last time the city allowed five building permits in Prague Estates.

Kubes asked for eight to 10 permits.

The council agreed that five permits would be enough for the moment and that Kubes could give them a progress report at the next council meeting.

Subdivision approvals

The council unanimously approved a final plat for East Gate Plaza third addition. The plat called for the property between AmericInn Motel and Pizza Ranch to be subdivided. The land was being divided for a possible restaurant in that area.

The council also approved a final plat for East Town Plaza. The area will be along Main Street next to New Prague Market Place. It will include a strip mall and a restaurant on the east side of the lot.

In a related issue the council approved a request for on-sale liquor license and Sunday liquor license for the restaurant at East Town Plaza.

Jim Connelly said the restaurant will be Classic Grill & Bar and will be open starting around 10:30-11 a.m. and closing around midnight or 1 a.m.

The council unanimously approved items from the New Prague Planning and Zoning Commission. Among them was a request for a variance in the size of the sign for the New Prague Area Community Center, a final plat for Prague Estates Ninth Addition and a preliminary and final plat for Prague Estates 10th Addition.

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