NEW: GOLF CARTS NOW PERMITTED ON FREEMAN CITY STREETS
JEREMY WALTNER – EDITOR & PUBLISHER
The Freeman City Council has taken action to enable those who hold a valid driver’s license to operate an insured golf cart on the streets of Freeman.
Meeting in regular session Wednesday, July 5, the council unanimously approved the second reading and adoption of ordinance 2023-03, which opens the door for residents to obtain a golf cart permit for operation of the vehicle on municipal roadways.
Prior to the approval of the new city ordinance, driving a golf cart on city streets was illegal, per state law.
“It was brought to our attention that there are a lot more golf carts using public streets than there used to be,” said Blaine Saarie, president of the city council. “Anybody who has a golf cart, we’ve actually helped them, because before they were in violation.
“Nobody likes ordinances — I get that,” he continued. “But this is clearly for the public’s benefit and makes things better for the people.”
While golf cars are now legal to operate in Freeman, there are regulations that need to be followed per the ordinance.
“It does have limitations,” Saarie said.
In addition to the driver holding a valid driver’s license, city-issued permit and insurance on the vehicle, golf carts may only be used on city streets and may not be taken onto county or state roads.
Permits must be obtained annually (calendar year) and must be displayed on the vehicle at all times.
Golf carts must also adhere to all traffic laws and, if driven after dark, must have at least one operating headlight and taillight.
For the full ordinance adopted by the city last week, see the public notice on page 5B.
The city is making plans to resurface approximately six blocks of streets that are currently without a hard surface — including three blocks of Relanto from College Street (which runs west and east past the junior-senior high school parking) lot to Sixth Street.
The council voted to advertise for bids at last week’s meeting; asphalt would be used as the covering on the roadways.
In addition to the stretch on Relanto, the work would include:
One-half block on Railway east of Main Street;
One block of Railway west from Juniper to Cedar Street (West County Road);
One-half block on Plum Street east of Juniper (near the old elevator property);
One block of Klasi east to Dewald Street (Klasi is the short road that runs off the eastern edge of the Prairie Arboretum).
The bids are due back by 5 p.m. Aug. 1 and will be opened at the city council meeting that night. Assuming a bid is accepted, the work is expected to be done this year.
Main Street lighting
It’s been 10 months since the Main Street business district reopened to traffic following Phase 1 of the city’s total rebuild of the downtown roadway, and the historic lighting that will illuminate the area from Railway to Fifth streets has yet to arrive.
Saarie, who has been working on the project with supplier NorthWestern Energy, said the last he heard was that the fixtures are due to arrive sometime in July. This follows multiple other delays, he said.
“This is definitely not the city dragging their feet; we want this finished as badly as anyone else — probably even more,” he told The Courier. “It’s a supply chain issue and is 100% out of our control. We’re at the mercy of whoever.”
Scott Beynon, a Freeman resident who works for NorthWestern Energy, confirmed that the lighting is due to arrive by the end of the month and said the delay is being caused by an accident in April that destroyed the fiberglass fixtures while they were on their way to Freeman.
“They were en route and the semi got in a bad accident,” Beynon told The Courier, “and they have to be remanufactured.”
Once they arrive NorthWestern Energy will have to schedule their installation, “but we’ll get them in as quick as we can.”
For more on the July 5 city council meeting, read the minutes on page 5A of this week’s Courier.
That meeting and previous Freeman City Council meetings going back to March of 2021 can also be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel. A link to that channel can be found at cityoffreeman.org under the government/council documents dropdown menu in the navigation.