Council implements new mapping tool

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Council was introduced to a new and more highly functional digital mapping tool for the city’s internal departments during Sidney City Council’s workshop session on Monday.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst Zack King said the current platform is about 10 years old, is a little slower and is accessed through the city’s private intranet network. However, the new ArcGIS Online platform is much more advanced, has greater customization capability and may be accessed via the web on personal tablets/laptops or smartphone with a user account/password.

He said ArcGIS Online works similar to Google Maps in that as users seek information, such as restaurants (for example), it adds layers to the map. As users search for pertinent content the maps can be designed to zoom, pan and turn layers on and off.

King said a goal is for design maps to be made available to the public by September on the city’s website.

Next steps, Kings said, are for the department managers to work with city staff to determine what content should be made available for the public and how best to display public content. He intends to bring back a live presentation to council before going live in September.

In other business, council began a discussion about potential changes to downtown parking regulations. The subject of regulation inconsistencies was originally discussed during a February workshop session and was scheduled to be revisited at Monday’s meeting. Sidney Alive undertook the project of reviewing ordinances and various concerns surrounding time limitations in the downtown district and developed suggestion changes for council’s consideration. An in depth discussion was deferred until the following council meeting when Sidney Alive representatives would be present to participate.

However, council did make a decision regarding one aspect of downtown parking. Chris North, Shelby County Veterans Service Commission Officer, requested the ability to rent three parking spaces for employees on the southwest corner of courtsquare to be closer to the Monument Building on North Main Avenue.

Council unanimously voted against the request. Their collective concern was that by allowing those spots to be used only by the Veterans Service’s employees, it would take parking spot away from veterans visiting the office.

Council member Darryl Thurber asked Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth if council was going to receive another visit/update from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recapping their work of removing the hazardous materials at the end of last year from the Wagner Ware building on Fair Road.

Dulworth said she asked EPA representatives to return to council, and will re-invite them back, but warned they have moved on to other projects. Dulworth said she will forward council members a copy of the final EPA report.

Thurber asked if the toxins were removed. Dulworth responded that the EPA intended to remove certain hazards, not all dangers from the building. She recommended no one enter the building not only because of hazardous substances, but also because of the deteriorating condition of the abandoned facility.

Police Chief Will Balling reminded the public about the police departments on-going Citizen’s Attitude Survey available on the city’s website at

Balling encouraged residents to complete the survey intended to obtain the public’s perception of the city, its police officers and department. Balling said they want honest feedback to understand how the department can improve.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan reminded council and the public the deadline for November election petitions is Aug. 9.

There also was a review of the upcoming Zoning Board/Planning Commission Agenda for Monday, June 19, 2017, and review the prospective City Council Agenda items for the next 30 days. Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth said the Zoning Board meeting is canceled because no business is scheduled.

Council member Janet Born was absent and excused by council.

In addition, council held an executive session for pending or imminent court action and the possible investment or expenditure of public funds made in connection with an economic development project. No action was taken when council emerged from the session.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.