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Columbia City Council Meeting 2 Nov 2015 - Meeting
The council warmly received the idea of placing the entire Downtown Historic District on the National Registry of Historic Places and received the latest news of the probability of a Lindsey Wilson College presence on the Square; received news of a large gift to endow the Trabue Russell house and assure one meeting a year, set in motion funding for fulfilling its commitment to Parks & Recreation with a new board member appointed; heard an update from the sidewalk committee; were given a heads up on a panhandling ordinance, took a new street into the city street program and added a street to the this year's blacktopping program, and were in a congratulatory mood with the triumphs of the Adair County High School Band, the Adair County Football Team's record-breaking season, the huge success of the Squarecrows and of the Trail Towns USA designation to be announced in a few days.
Click on headline for story with photo(s)
By Ed Waggener
For an election eve meeting - maybe for any meeting - last night's meeting of the Columbia City Council was a landmark one.
The Council meeting room was packed, discussions were lively with the feel of a town meeting, to the pleasure of Mayor Curtis Hardwick and members of the council.
All members of the Council were present in addition to Mayor HardwicK: Craig Lasley, Linda Waggener, Craig Dean, Ron Rogers, Charles Grimsley and Mark Harris. Also present were City Clerk Rhonda Loy, City Attorney Marshall Loy, City Police Chief Jason Cross, City Gas Superintendent Ron Cook and wife Linda; member of the Planning & Zoning Board Roy Rademacher and his guest who led the Pledge, Judy Keltner of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District, Lindsey Wilson Vice President Betty Starr, History Professor Melinda Sinters and LWC history student Sam Price, of Alexandria; National Registry Coordinator Marty Perry of the Kentucky Historical Council; Mary Ann & Barry Loy; Ellen Zornes, representing the Chamber of Commerce and Adair Heritage Association, Mike Watson, member of the Adair Heritage Association, and representatives of the media. The meeting adjourned at 7:15pmCT.
Items considered at the meeting:
Marty Perry, National Register Coordinator for the Kentucky Heritage Council, made a brief presentation outlining an option for Downtown Columbia to be put on the National Register of Historic Places.
Perry came at the invitation of Lindsey Wilson Dean Betty Starr. Lindsey Wilson will be applying for the Jeffries Building to be put on the National Register on a solo basis unless a majority of property owners in Downtown Columbia decide to ask that the entire Downtown District be certified, in which case the Jeffries Building application would join in that application.
Perry told the Council and audience that Downtown Columbia is an excellent candidate for the National Registry designation. There are a lot of beautiful landmark buildings downtown he said.
He emphasized that the designation does not in any way restrict a property owner's right to make changes or not, but would make the property potentially eligible to get financial incentives.
He said that in most cases, approximately 97% of business owners (tenants do not have a direct voice in the matter) agree to the inclusion of their property in a National Register application. He said that building and land owners are usually enthusiastic about the possibility of ownership of National Registry property. "It's financially advantageous to the individual property owners and helps economic development."
Dean Starr said that while the Lindsey Wilson Board of Trustees has conditionally agreed to accept a gift of the Jeffries Building from the current owners, First & Farmers Bank, it is not yet a done deal. There are still environmental considerations, she said.
If the application goes forward, the certification might come as early as Spring, 2016. The plan was unanimously supported by the Mayor and City Council and many in the audience, though no official vote was taken at the regular meeting of the Council last night, Monday, November 2, 2015.
Pressure for sidewalks keeps building, but obstacles abound
The quest for make Columbia healthier, safer, more livable and more attractive to new business, new residents and tourists keeps building in intensity, but continues to meet obstacles, and reasons 'why not.'
Sidewalks advocate Mary Ann Loy presented a report on her committee's analysis of the sidewalks in Columbia, and presented her findings for a sidewalk in front of the old Prescription Shoppe at 808 Jamestown Street, a building owned by County Judge Executive Michael Lee Stephens.
Loy showed photos of the 1976 situation when the Prescription Shoppe and the then Loy Clinic (now Westlake Primary Care), were first built.
She noted that in 1991 under Mayor Pam Hoots, a sidewalk was built which completed an unbroken west side of Jamestown Street walkway from the Square Downtown, to the then Houchens Grocery. That sidewalk cost $3,000.
In 1996 the Prescription Shoppe expanded in all directions, resulting in the loss of one parking space; that parking space she noted, was moved toward Jamestown Street, a new sign was erected, and parking bumpers obstructed the sidewalk.
The sign came down when the Prescription Shoppe closed and CVS opened, but obstacles for wheelchairs - tripping hazards for pedestrians - remained in place.
In September of 2015, Mayor Hardwick, striped the area where the sidewalk had been, but Mr. Stephens, the owner of 808 Jamestown Street, had the white protective stripes coated with black sealant, and replaced the parking bumpers
Mayor Hardwick acknowledged that Loy's facts were correct, but said that the State Highway Department had investigated and that there is no easement for the sidewalk and that Mr. Stephens is still the absolute owner of the disputed sidewalk. He said that the property had been jointly owned, and that Mr. Stephens' former wife never signed the easement, so any right of way which should have been, never was.
City Attorney Marshall Loy concurred.
Mayor Hardwick said that he would go back to Judge Stephens to see if something could be worked out and that any of the council members were welcome to talk with him.
Dohoney Trace taken into city street program
The council unanimously approved a second reading of an ordinance to take Dohoney Trace into the City Street program. The ordinance coincides with the opening of a new Hardee's, which will be on a lot between the Five Star and Walmart, on the Louie B.Nunn Parkway side of Dohoney Trace.
Change order adds Todd Street and Keen Drive to blacktopping program
The council unanimously agreed to add Todd Street and Keen Drive to this years paving program. The vote was unanimous.
Trabue Russell house
Closely related the the news of the National Register designation for Downtown was the announcement by Mayor Curtis Hardwick that philanthropist Jim Blair had bequeathed $75,000 to the City to used to fund at least one public event at the Trabue Russell House each year.
Mayor Hardwick said that it might be a Christmas event, an open house, or other similar activity. He said that he is looking at utilizing the Lake Area Foundation to invest the money, noting that it offers a better yield than most funds. Judy Keltner, a representative of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District, was present and has agreed to help with setting up the fund.
Lisa Handy, P & R Chair, presents dire financial; gets promise for action
Lisa Handy, the chair of the Columbia/Adair County Parks & Recreation Board, came before the council to ask the body to fulfill promises made to the board. She said that the P&R Board if essentially out of money.
Mayor Hardwick and City Clerk Rhonda Loy said that the city is in arrears in the approximate amount of $80,000 due as its half of the funding for the park. The money, they said, is owed to Adair County Fiscal Court which is the lead entity handling the affairs of Parks & Recreation.
In addition, an operating agreement calls for up to $25,000 in annual support from the City of Columbia.
The Council voted to give Mayor Hardwick the authority to negotiate with Adair County Judge Michael Lee Stephens, get a definite figure and suitable payment schedule, to bring the city into compliance with the operating agreement. The vote was 6-0. Mayor Hardwick is expecting to report back at a future Council meeting.
New Parks & Recreation Board Member
Mayor Hardwick announced the resignation of City Councilman Craig Lasley from the Parks & Recreation Board and recommended Councillor Linda Waggener as a replacement. The vote was 5-0 with Waggener abstaining.
Mayor Hardwick gives heads up on panhandling ordinance
Mayor Hardwick announced that the city is considering a new panhandling law. Details of the proposed law will come at a future meeting.
Chief Cross delivers October 2015 Police Department Activity Report
Columbia Police Chief Jason D. Cross delivered the department's Activity Report of October 2015. (See: Columbia Police Department Activity Report Oct 2015)
Mayor reports three dilapidated buildings are going or gone
Mayor Hardwick reported that three houses have been or are being razed as a result of more vigorous enforcement of the ordinance related to unoccupied and neglected buildings.
- Craig Dean - "Bob is back," Councillor Dean said, reminding the community of the 21st State Title won by the Adair County Marching Band. He also praised the Adair County HS Football team, which has just completed its best season in program history, and announced that the Regional Playoffs will be in Columbia for the second time. (Details will be in CM Events as soon as complete information is obtained.)The council adjourned at 7:15pmCT.
This story was posted on 2015-11-03 06:45:44
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