Benson, NE - It's a quaint, yet popular neighborhood where locals dine and shop. This month - a new bike shop. Next month - a new pizza parlor. The growth in Benson is unstoppable, but in order to keep things lively, local business owners and city leaders want the state department of roads to change Maple Street from a highway to a regular city street so expansion can continue.
"What would also be helpful to us is if we had more flexibility with the highway designation here to deal with things like increased diagonal parking, controlling the lights a little better, and even local control over land issues. Things like that will help us as we proceed with our redevelopment plans," Councilman Pete Festersen said.
Business owner Jane Beran has lived and worked in the Benson area for more than 20 years. She believes re-routing Highway 64 from Maple to Northwest Radial will make it a safer community for both her customers and neighbors.
"They're getting out opening their door and there's traffic there and I just feel that we need changes around here for this up-and-coming area," Jane Beran said.
But not everyone agrees re-routing Highway 64 is the way to go. "Off the bat it seems like a good idea, more traffic more customers but uh I think overpopulating the area will take away from it's beauty," Brian Gennardo said.
City Councilman Pete Festersen says city and state officials will need to sit down and discuss the matter. At this time, no meeting date has been set.