In Feb. 18 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
In what should be the last Russell Springs City Council meeting in the city's old municipal building, Mayor Hollis DeHart gave his annual report to the council and to the community as to the state of affairs of the city.
"We continue in our endeavors to upgrade Main Street and make it attractive to those who travel here and to those who might open and maintain a business," DeHart said. "I believe in this coming year you are going to see some of that take place."
The city should be moved into its new home on Main. St in the next few weeks, according to the mayor.
"I believe the building is going to be very attractive and will represent Russell Springs in a more positive light," he said. The mayor commended city employee Jeremy Coffey for his dedication to the project as well as all of the other city employees who have spent so much time on the project.
"Our own employees have dedicated themselves so much to doing a lot of the work," he said.
The mayor also said the city had been awarded an $80,000 grant for sidewalks on Maple Street but had not yet received the funding from Washington.
"We've also applied for funds to build sidewalks down Lakeway Drive," he said. "We won't know whether that is approved until later this year."
DeHart also announced that Public Works Director Terry Russell had secured a grant of approximately $1 million to replace many of the old water and sewer lines in town.
"Work is underway on that construction project," he said. "I ask the community to bear with us because some of the streets are going to get torn up ... and they're going to be torn up for a little while."
He asked the community to have patience as work is completed on this project.
The mayor also said the Downtown Revitalization Committee will continue its work on beatifying downtown and the Chalybeate Springs Park that it began last year.
DeHart thanked First National Bank for their financial assistance on the park, Monticello Banking Company for their generous financial support and Friends, a ladies Christian outreach program, for their assistance to the park. He also thanked the Jaycees, the Ol' Boys Car Club and the Masonic Lodge for their support.
The mayor said he was also reorganizing the city's code enforcement board that will allow property owners to be given citations and force home and business owners to clean up their properties and building or run the risk of being condemned.
"Let's be thankful for what we have and strive to do even better in the future," he said.
In other happenings at the meeting:
o Public Administration Specialist Clarissa Hart with the Lake Cumberland Area Development District conducted a public hearing over a land and water conservation fund grant titled the "Leroy Row Memorial Park Improvement Project" which is administered through the Department of Local Government through the LCADD at no charge to the city in a special called meeting prior to the regular meeting.
"The proposed project is for the Leroy Rowe Memorial Park and it is to build a new concession stand that will be centrally located to serve all four (baseball fields) with restrooms attached," she said. "Part two of the project is to build a new picnic shelter."
The new shelter would be able to serve two groups at the same time and also has restrooms attached, according to the proposal.
The total cost of the project is $36,752 from the state, through the grant, and the city has to do a 50-50 match.
"For every dollar you ask for you have to put up a dollar," Hart said. "But you're putting up slightly more at $37,920, (in-kind) which is going to bode well for your application."
Most of the work will also be completed by city workers, she added.
"I feel pretty good about the application," she said. "We'll get it submitted before the end of next month and we'll just wait to hear from the folks in Frankfort."
Mayor DeHart said the current picnic area was not in good shape and something needed to be done.
Under the proposal, the current concession stand will be torn down, allowing the new one to be built in the same place. That, then would be attached to the picnic shelter, much like a pavilion, of sorts. Current bathroom numbers at the city park would be doubled under this proposal as well.
Hart said, at minimum, it would be two months before any funds would be awarded concerning the grant.
o Mayor DeHart announced that City Attorney Don Byrom's contract had not been renewed.
"As I perceive it, it is of no fault to Mr. Byrom nor of the city of Russell Springs," he said. "Mr. Byrom is an honorable and very capable attorney and I like to count him as my friend."
DeHart said no shadow of inappropriateness of any form should be cast Byrom's way and that Byrom's position as city attorney became "untenable" after a recent, unelaborated special judge ruling.
DeHart said that local attorney Athena Cooper, who is seeking the position of district judge this fall, will serve as interim city attorney in Byrom's absence.
o The city council donated the remaining $1,250 of a $2,500 agreement to the Russell County baseball boosters and president Darrell Selby. The initial $1,250 was given to the program last year.
Several of the baseball players worked on the city park's baseball fields in the latter part of last year, city employee Jeremy Coffey said.
Councilman Eric Selby said the baseball program had an application in that could possibly reward them a regional Babe Ruth tournament this summer, bringing folks in from several different states.
If Russell County is chosen as the location for the tournament, DeHart said the city would benefit through motel and restaurant business.
o City Council members approved a zone change on Dowell Rd. recommended by the city's zoning board.
Jack Hudson made the recommendation at the zoning board meeting that the property between Tucker Ave. and Womack St. be changed from R-2, a moderate density single family residential area to C1, a highway oriented commercial zone.
o H.M. Bottom was reappointed to another three-year term on the Natural Gas Board.
o The city sold a portion of land, 20 feet wide and 250 feet long, behind the Russell Springs United Methodist Church to the church for $1. The church will pave the area and become part of the church's parking lot.
o The council heard the first reading of ordinance 2010-01 enacting and adopting a supplement to the cod of ordinances, which is done every five years, according to DeHart.