16th viaduct 3

In this file photo, barricades placed at Osborne Drive East and 19th Street prevent traffic from using the viaduct. The old overpass closed May 31 due to structural deterioration.

Hastings Citizens with a Voice met Tuesday at the C3 Hotel to discuss ways they are continuing to fight to save the 16th Street viaduct.

The group has been meeting every second and fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m. to discuss the topic, and everyone is welcome.

During the most recent meeting, the group discussed letters that had been sent to City Administrator Dave Ptak and Matt Rief, team leader with Olsson Associates.

Paul Dietze, president of Hastings Citizens with a Voice, said the letters are meant to keep the lines of communication open. They are waiting on a response before making the letters public.

Depending on the response, he said the next step may be legal action.

A lawsuit that Dietze, Norman Sheets and Alton Jackson filed against the Hastings City Council currently is pending in Adams County District Court.

The lawsuit, asking for an order restraining the city from demolishing the 85-year-old viaduct, was put on hold on Nov. 17, 2020, until a special election was held on the issue or the city moved forward with demolition. The group didn’t receive the necessary signatures to move forward with a special election on the issue.

Members of the group discussed the advertisement for bids to demolish the viaduct, which are due Dec. 2. Some commented that they believed 10 days’ notice was too few for a bid to be completed.

The group also discussed the city’s purchase of a building for $900,000 during Monday’s Hastings City Council meeting.

Members of the council approved a purchase agreement with Hastings Economic Development Corp. to buy a 13,300-square-foot building located at 3505 Yost Ave. The Hastings Utility Board recommended approval of the purchase at its Nov. 10 meeting.

Utility Manager Kevin Johnson said the building would be used to expand vehicle and equipment maintenance capability and provide more storage capacity.

Willis Hunt, a member of the Citizens With a Voice board of directors, said the purchase was a surprise, even though he has been regularly attending council meetings.

Even though there was a public hearing on the purchase, Hunt said, no one spoke on the topic because the public didn’t know about the purchase prior to that night.

“We didn’t have a clue about it,” he said.

Roger Coffman of Hastings said he went back to check previous council meetings for any previous discussion of the building.

“The frustrating part is the actions that go on behind closed doors,” he said.