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Reporter

Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

Pool slides

Waterslides at Star City Shores have been closed for repairs since city pools opened for the season last month.

The 3-year-old waterslides at the city's aquatic center, Star City Shores, could reopen Wednesday following repairs stemming from a winter surprise, Lincoln Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said this week. 

Right before the city's pools were slated to open for the season, staff found that "potholes" had developed from cracks in the gel coating on the fiberglass slides, Johnson said. 

Unaddressed, those "potholes" would make parts of the slides like razor blades, he added. 

So the slides were closed as staff sought to ship the gel-coat repair product from Canada. 

The kits arrived Thursday, but with one hold-up.

Officials learned Friday the catalyst product that causes the gel to harden couldn't be shipped into the U.S. because it's considered a hazardous material, Johnson said. 

Luckily they found the catalyst chemical locally.

Staff have been working on the repairs since last week and will evaluate the slides Wednesday, a department spokeswoman said.

While the slides are closed, entry fees have been reduced and season pass holders are getting a discount on concessions, according to the city.

"In the future we'll check them at the end of the season, and we'll check them probably mid-April, as soon as the winter season is over," Johnson said.

Working to fill openings

The process to fill the at-large City Council seat vacated when Leirion Gaylor Baird became mayor remains on track for a vote Monday, City Council Chair Jane Raybould said. 

But just who the finalists are will likely remain under wraps as the six council members continue interviewing the 24 candidates individually and discussing their thoughts in private, one-on-one conversations, Raybould and Councilman Roy Christensen said after the council's meeting earlier this week.

The two most-senior members of the City Council said they want a nominee with unanimous support and don't want to subject those who don't make the cut to embarrassment. Interviews and discussions among council members will be carefully orchestrated so not to violate open-meeting laws.

Meanwhile, three Lancaster County officials will hold televised, public interviews beginning Friday for candidates vying to be appointed to the open Board of Commissioners seat representing the northwest part of the county. 

The three officials will then select finalists Monday and hold a second round of public interviews later this month before making an appointment in early July.

In an email to the City Council on May 31, Robert Way of Lincoln expressed discomfort the council's selection process was being conducted outside public view.

"The power to select council members is so important that normally every single citizen has an equal say, and if they do not have (the) opportunity this time to speak through their votes, they should have the opportunity to listen and understand the entire process," Way said. 

New mayor: Diversity a priority

Gaylor Baird's administration considers diversity and inclusion top priorities, she told council members at a meeting Monday. 

The city has more than 60 volunteer advisory boards and commissions, and those are areas where the mayor's office and City Council can make inroads, she said.   

Gaylor Baird encouraged council members to keep those advisory boards in mind whenever they meet someone interested in improving the city. 

Mayoral aide Adelle Burk will be coordinating advisory board nominations. 

 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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