By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
A grant for splash pad, the removal of a traffic signal at one city intersection, and setting a fee of five dollars for a burn permit were among the actions taken Monday, during the Corbin City Commission’s regular meeting.
City Commissioners Suzie Razmus, Ed Tye, Joe Shelton and Bruce Hodge, and Mayor Willard McBurney approved three actions for the splash pad, which would be located adjoining the city swimming pool on Barbourville Street.
One was a resolution for the city to apply for a Land and Water Grant through the state Department for Local Government (DLG). The grant would allow funding for up to $75,000, with the state and city matching the final grant total on a 50/50 basis. That resolution was unanimously accepted.
Another motion would authorize McBurney to sign the letter authorizing the matching funds for the grant, while a third motion would enable the mayor to sign the deed that would split the property in the area where the splash pad would be built. Both those two motions were also approved.
A public hearing on the proposal was held at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, before the commission’s regular session.
The traffic signal light at the corner of Roy Kidd Avenue and Depot Street will be coming down soon, to be replaced by a four-way stop.
Once a busy intersection years ago, when Roy Kidd Avenue was Center Street, and before I-75 and the viaduct connecting Main Street and Kentucky Avenue with Master Street and U.S. 25W North, city officials cited a feasibility study done by the District 11 Office of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in Manchester.
The study showed the present traffic light wasn’t needed, due to decreased volume of vehicles using the intersection in recent years, and suggested a four-way stop.
In addition, it was noted the city pays for the upkeep of the light, which would continue if not taken out. It was added the city may get a flashing red light in its place.
The motion to reply to KYTC’s District 11 Office to request removing the traffic signal was approved, 5-0.
Also approved was a motion, authorizing City Attorney Bob Hammons to draw up an ordinance that would set a $5 fee for a burn permit, presently issued by the Corbin Fire Department.
Presently, city residents have to get a burn permit from the fire department, which is for 60 days, starting with the time they get it.
Fire Chief Barry McDonald noted some residents still burn other materials that are not legal, saying, “Most of the time, they’re burning tires, shingles and that kind of stuff.”
Approval was also given to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) proposal, that was submitted by the Coordinator of the Downtown Corbin organization, Andy Salmons.
He explained the proposal would be for landscape architectural firms to make proposals for improvements in the city’s downtown area.
“I recommend we do this. It’s free for us, and it will give us access to resources,” Salmons told the meeting. He added the proposal would also involve a selection committee to be made up of himself, City Manager Marlon Sams and one or more Commission Members.
“It gives the firms to come in, show us proposals and say, ‘Look at these other cities we’ve worked with. Here’s what we can do for you. Then you figure out your price and go from there. It can be taken in steps,” said Salmons after the meeting.
The RFQ proposal was approved unanimously.
The mayor and the commission also approved the health, dental and life insurance plan for all full-time city employees for the upcoming fiscal year of 2014-15. Sams stated the plan was the same as they had in previous years, but went up five percent from last year because of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
The city’s provided health insurance through Bluegrass Family Health, while dental insurance is through Guardian Dental and life insurance is through Guardian Life.
Among other actions, Ricky Lynch and Ed Garr were appointed to the Civil Service Commission, replacing Don Robinson and Byron Scheiz. Harley Jess was appointed to full-time status in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, while Randy Mitchell was appointed full-time in the Public Works Department.
Beginning Monday, April 28 and continuing through Friday, May 9, the next two weeks will be designated as “Spring Clean Up Weeks in the City of Corbin.”
Sams said that thanks to a PRIDE grant, the city will set up a large roll-off container in two sections of town for residents to bring “trash and anything other than tires and batteries.”
The Spring Clean Up will begin next week from this Monday to next Friday, May 2 in the East Corbin area, then be from Monday, May 5 to Friday, May 9 in the South and West Corbin area.
Portia Gosser, Director of Tourism for the city, told the session that she would be traveling to Louisville Tuesday for the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism’s Media Showcase. The showcase will present the state’s new advertising look and discuss this fall’s co-op opportunities. She added Commissioner Mike Mangeot will discuss the impact of the recently passed state budget on the travel and tourism industry during the showcase.
Gosser mentioned she was hoping to hear by May 1 if the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission would receive a grant for converting their former offices in the old L&N Railroad Depot on Depot Street into a museum. In addition, Corbin Tourism now has a page on the Facebook social media site, while their website and new tourism brochures continue to be updated.
Two groups in the audience had comments to the Commission at the meeting.
One involved Susie Bargo, with the Dudes & Dolls square dance club, which she said was active for 51 years and nationally known. They formerly met and had square dancing at the old Depot, but noted they no longer are in that location, due to the building becoming the future home of the museum.
“We’re homeless. We’ve been at the depot building for years, and if the grant for the museum goes through, we’re for that. We’ve looked at several places, but couldn’t find anything to fit our needs. Our option is to leave Corbin, and a couple from London has found places there. There’s one place in Corbin we’ve found, but we’d have to rent. We have no money. Anyway, if the city can help us, we’d appreciate it,” she pointed out.
McBurney asked Bargo and the group if they had looked at the Senior Citizens Center on Barbourville Street, and she replied they haven’t. He then suggested them to do so.
Razmus suggested Bargo to check the Corbin Center, off the Cumberland Falls Highway, on the way to the Corbin Arena.
“Contact the Senior Citizens Center first. Corbin Center has lots of functions,” Sams replied to Bargo.
When she asked the commission if the square dance group could apply for any grants or financial assistance, she was told by Sams that there was no money available.
The other was with a group headed by Mark Eaton, representing some residents of the South Main Street-20th Street neighborhood, where his parents live. As he had before in previous visits, his concerns were about the Everlasting Arms Home Less Shelter on South Main.
“It’s been a year since we’ve been discussing issues with the homeless shelter. There’s been an increase in emergency vehicles. It’s alarming when people are trespassing, circling the block and end up at the homeless shelter. I don’t know what can be done. It hasn’t stopped,” he stated.
“We’ve been there 106 times. We’ve had some problems inside. Several problems lately,” Corbin Police Chief David Campbell told the meeting when asked.
When asked if the city could do anything, Razmus told Eaton, “Our hands are tide. I would think if you called Jim (Lacefield, who’s works with the center) directly. Keep calling the police.”
Sams added, “If you and the neighbors would sit down and talk to Jim, I think it would help. He really wants to make things better. Other than the police going down there, the city can’t help.”
Later in the meeting, the mayor and commission members went into Executive Session, to discuss personnel matters. When they returned to the regular meeting, Hammons announced no action was taken.
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
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