, Corbin, KY

Local News

June 9, 2014

Cash inflow sought for water park

CORBIN — By John L. Ross

Staff Writer

Problems at the city's water park — those issues were discussed during the Barbourville City Council's regular monthly meeting Thursday.

And the plan is for Mayor Darren West to ask for cash from tourism to cover some of those problems.

Kenny Williamson, with the city's water park, came before council members and gave a report on the state of the water park.

He said the park opened May 24, but that attendance was low the first two days. Memorial Day did see good attendance.

Attendance has also been boosted by several local schools holding field days there — Flat Lick and Jesse D. Lay elementary schools both came to the park this week, Williamson said.

The Duck Derby is slated for this weekend, and on Friday, June 13, it will be Change Your Luck Day at the water park.

He said 13 tickets will be given away to kids age 13 and up.

He also added that tourism has vowed to help with planting flowers in the park's mulch beds.

That was the good news.

Williamson said there have been pump problems.

The kiddie pool pump and pump for the yellow slide have been repaired, but that one pump for the lazy river is out. A replacement for that pump could cost as much as $4,000, Williamson said.

Further, inspectors reviewing the park found the playground equipment donated by McDonalds was not mounted into the concrete — and it needs to be done.

It was said during the meeting that former park manager Wendy Thompson had received a letter a year and a half ago "and nothing was said about it."

Further problems plague the water park. Williamson said they still need an ice machine, a hot dog maker, a nacho warmer and lockers.

Council member Ronnie Moore asked about the lockers, and Williamson explained that the locks for the lockers were owned by former mayor David Thompson and were taken by him. At one time, the locks were designed as pay lockers, he added.

There are also problems with the stereo — namely, there are six speakers too many for one amp to work properly.

"It's not able to pull that," he said, adding that four of those speakers are going through one channel. "When the stereo gets hot it kicks off — we're kind of out of a stereo system."

Problems are also hitting the city's splash pad. Williamson said the reservoir was filled and the chemicals added, but when the playground equipment was turned on — an hour later the reservoir ran dry of water.

In an effort to figure out where they were losing water, it was determined that the mushroom addition on the splash pad had a broken water pipe. It may have happened sometime last season, as there were issues with losing water last year.

Moore was not happy about the list of problems Williamson presented. He felt that the water park and splash pad fall under tourism attractions, as it likely attracts people from Pineville and Harriman, Tennessee.

He asked Williamson the ultimate cost of making full repairs to everything in the park, adding that he felt council should approach Tourism Director Denise Wainscott and get the tourism board "to give money for that."

Council member Gary Williams said it would cost approximately $20,000 to pay for the pumps needed.

West said that usually the city earmarks $40,000 for recreation — on Monday he said he's asking for $70,000.

"Over the last several years (there have been) 'bandaids' put on the pumps (and) stereo," West said. "(We're) tired of 'bandaids' — we need to fix the problems."

Moore then added that both the tourism board and recreation board need to change their meeting times to allow better access for citizen attendance. West said he'd made that request at the tourism board's last three meetings, but that decision had been tabled.

No decisions were needed on the specifics outlined in this report of the city's parks.

In other city council business:

— An appointment was made and approved to finally fill the Board of Adjustments to its capacity. Mayor Darren West asked council members to accept the appointment of Donnie Hudson to a two-year term, and it was unanimously approved by al six council members.

— Also appointed Thursday were new members to the city's seven-member Tourism Board. West explained that per Kentucky Revised Statute 91A.372 (3) board members can be appointed to that board by the mayor without council's consent.

KRS 91A.372 (3) states, "The commissioners shall be appointed for terms of three (3) years, provided, that in making the initial appointments, the chief elective official of the urban-county shall appoint three (3) commissioners for a term of three (3) years, three (3) commissioners for a term of two (2) years and three (3) commissioners for a term of one (1) year."

West explained it was recently approved by sitting board members during the March meeting that term limits be set for those members. With that approval, West said there were two terms that expire at the end of this month — Lynn Taylor and Marcia Dixon.

West further explained that tourism commissions, or boards, should include members of the city chamber, restaurant commission and hotel/motel association.

As Barbourville has none of those, West explained appointments can be made from members of the public. In that regard, West appointed Scott Clouse to represent the restaurant industry, and Tamra Sanborn to represent the hotel/motel interests. Their terms begin July 1.

— City resident Pat Hauser came before council members with a petition asking for an alley behind his and other properties be permanently closed.

The alley is off Johnson Lane — and all residents whose property lines touch that alley agreed and signed the petition, Hauser said.

He explained the original property developers built the alley leaving the city the option accept that road into its street plan.

Hauser said the city, as far as he knew, had "never done that." "I've never known the alley to be used," he said. "(We're) asking the city to enact an ordinance to close that (alley)."

Hauser said the hope was to close the entire T-shaped alley.

Initially, West said city council would "take it under advisement."

It was then decided to go ahead and grant Hauser's request, and asked City attorney Christopher Mills to draft an ordinance for the next regular meeting.

— West said that state planned bridge repairs that were slated for this past Monday are now scheduled for next Monday. He said that there were "hangups" with CSX flaggers who are needed to assist in safety during the bridge work process. The work on that bridge has been in the planning stages for about a decade.

— An executive session was held at the end of the meeting. The approximate 30-minute session was to discuss personnel issues, and after the session ended, Mills said no motions or decisions were made.

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