(Leitchfield, KY)-Older days were appreciated during the Leitchfield City Council meeting Monday evening as Leitchfield-Industrial Recruiter Dudley Cooper talked to the council about what he was doing in attempts to promote Grayson County. He said many people had talked with him about their memories of how the Leitchfield Public Square played a major role in daily socializing and sales. He said he had recently placed the square on a list with the Department of Local Government for the Renaissance-Main Street Project. He said the program had done great rehabilitation projects for Springfield, Bardstown and Beaver Dam. He said the Leitchfield Public Square is “Pretty enchanting and would be the envy of many communities and has so many possibilities.” He said the review board has not visited Leitchfield but he had plans to “stay on their heels” until a date was set and was hoping for fall. Cooper said the program currently was without funds to spend but he had been informed by the Department of Local Government that Governor Steve Beshear has committed himself to putting money back into this account. Cooper said the program was basically a beautification program but could involve some rebuilding of infrastructure and the program offered low interest loans to the building owners.
Councilman Steven Elder took the liberty of photographing each store front that he felt needed a facelift. He asked the council if there was anything the city could do to help with the rehabilitation of the outside appearance for the store owners and Councilman Billy Dallas said “Jason Pharis painted his entire building on his own.” Mayor William Thomason said there was nothing the city could offer individual owners. Elder said he would like to see the trees around the square that were badly damaged during the ice storm be removed and replaced. The council agreed to have Kevin Collard, Owner of Pine View Nursery, look at the trees and give the city an evaluation of what can be done to possibly save the trees. The council also commissioned City Clerk Erin Embry with the task of asking the Grayson County High School FFA if they would be interested in adopting the landscaping needs around the square as part of their continuing education efforts in FFA.
Dudley Cooper said the Journal of Publication in Tennessee had contacted him in February about an economic development guide that had been utilized in Tennessee for the past 17 years and had been very beneficial. He said Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet decided to put together a development guide of their own this year that will go in all their packets that they send out to potential developers. He said Grayson County has a full page ad that carried a cost of $5000 but he said “It’s a great endeavor,” and said the ad is part of the decision to turn up the volume of public relations for the county this year. He said www.GrowGrayson.com is another portion of the campaign, as is the date for the city and county to host the reception center at the Kentucky State Fair this year. He said the Mayor of Louisville and Governor Beshear would host a ribbon cutting ceremony that the county would get to participate in and he hopes this shows just how serious Grayson County is about future development.
Owner of Jake’s Place Jeannie Embry asked the council to allow her to keep her outside tables that she had set out with the coming of the spring season. Councilman Dallas said “I think it adds a touch of class and it’s what we’re looking for.” Councilman Kelly Stevenson asked Embry if her business had increased recently and if so why and she replied that it had increased and the tables were the only change made. Dallas said he understood the ordinance came into existence several years ago to help prevent vending machines being set outside of businesses on and around the square. Attorney Ken Smart made a change to the ordinance that will allow anything decorative in nature to enhance the charm and beauty of the square that will have to be removed at the close of business, no products displayed for resale; it will have to allow adequate clearing of sidewalk for traffic and no permanent or semi-permanent devices. Embry said she would like to see the portion removed that prohibits items for resale. She mentioned she could envision the frame shop on the square having art easels sat out with pictures for sale during the daytime. Dallas said “If Discount Interiors wants to put a brand new couch out during store hours for sale; I could see them doing that. They used to do that when I was a kid.” The council agreed to amend the ordinance and remove the portion that would prohibit items for sale during hours of operation. Embry was told to keep her tables out and in use.
Faye Critchelow, Barbra Allen and Theresa Beatty with local Family Resource Centers attended the meeting to work out a schedule and rates for their program to use the city pool. Mayor Thomason said the rates would remain the same as in previous years and the lady’s can work out a schedule with Braxton Allen, pool supervisor. Mayor Thomason expressed his only concern was the different groups come on opposite days to help eliminate the congestion. The pool’s maximum capacity is 200 and Mayor Thomason was afraid other children would be turned away if all four groups were to attend the same days and hours.
Local citizen Danny Gibson told the council he would like to see local government groups’ work together to start a grassroots campaign to force a repeal of NAFTA. Gibson gave several examples of how he thought NAFTA was to blame for jobs lost and the rise of illegal immigration. In a previous council meeting Councilman Jerry Schlosser blamed NAFTA for factories leaving the United States. Mayor Thomason said government in not paying attention to the Tea Party’s the protesters are participating in across America. He said the city had applied for $4 million in stimulus money for a new intake plant and the city was notified that they were turned down. He said “The stimulus money is going to the big cities and counties; Jefferson County and Fayette County is getting all of it. We have done our job applying for it. The big counties with the population, where the votes are is where the money is going to go to.” He did say the city could look into having a website built that they could endorse and dispatch to all 120 Kentucky counties in hopes of starting a ripple effect in the reform or repeal of the law. Gibson said he had plans to speak with Judge/Executive Gary Logsdon in hopes of gaining his support of the idea. He said he would like to do something on his own but knew the council would have a larger voice with many more avenues that would reach political figures that have the ability to make changes. No action was taken but the council said they would look into the idea.
In other city business:
Mayor Thomason said the state has used a large portion of top soil to extinguish their burning pile of debris on Hwy 54. He said they will be replacing the topsoil that was contaminated with ash. He said the city would be watching closely to make for sure the state replaces the topsoil with equal quality dirt.
The council signed a proclamation declaring the week of May 17-23, 2009 as Public Works Week in Leitchfield.
Councilman Stevenson asked Public Works Director Darrell Harrell to look into a complaint of bus drivers making a quick turn around by H.W. Wilkey Elementary that is leaving large ruts in the grass. He said the buses are not driving down to the end of the street to make their turns. He said he thinks a no parking sign in the area may remedy the problem.
The council authorized to accept bids for the S. Clinton Street road rehabilitation.
Councilman Leon Shaw asked that the city’s employees spray for wasp at all of the ballparks and playgrounds.
Councilman Schlosser said he has heard several complaints about Comcast Cable from residents in north Leitchfield. The council said they would send a letter on behalf of the customers. Councilman Dallas said his On-Demand option has never worked and understands that the entire section of north Leitchfield is experiencing problems.
Leitchfield Fire Chief Carl “Moon” Smith asked the council to approve him to apply for a 50/50 matching grant for the department. The Forestry Grant is geared towards supplying departments with tools needed in grass and wood fires. Smith said the total grant would be for $7000; the department’s portion would be $3500.