Smith: Traffic, Noise Are Concerns

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Mayor John Robert Smith said Wednesday he would oppose a suggested southern bypass around the city which would pull traffic away from major retail hubs such as the mall, Wal-Mart and Lowe's.

He said he does not feel the same about a northern bypass to aid traffic passing through the county.

"I'm in favor of a north bypass, depending on where it is located obviously and not in support of a southern bypass at this time," Smith said. "And I think it would be years before that is necessary."

As for the ordinance passed Tuesday that would forbid any new BYOB after-hours clubs opening in the central downtown area, Smith said it is because the nature of downtown has changed and is becoming more residential.

"There is a natural grist between those who living downtown and want to sleep downtown and activities that may go on all night long that produces volume that is disturbing to the sleep," said the mayor, "and can lead to a litter problem downtown."

Only one such after hours club currently exists. It is The Sportsman's Club on Fifth Street and it will be permitted to continue its operation.

As for repairing Bonita Lakes Dam, now that the Corps of Engineers does not have money to fund it, the city will do it themselves to the tune of about $400,000.

Assistant City Engineer Jason Gault was called on for an estimate of construction time.

"The engineers told me it would be between three and six months and being we can let those contracts, we could actually award the contract in late October," said Gault. "That would put us starting in a winter month so it would probably be close to six months because that's really contingent on weather."

The money will come from a recent water/sewer bond issue that was put aside for that purpose.