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City Of Columbia: State of the City address

By Mayor Pamela Hoots

It is that time again, when we give a recap of the year to all local residents. This has been an unusual year in many aspects. We have had challenges that have never happened before in our lifetime.

The city government, like many elsewhere, was affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. Several departments in the local government were either quarantined; or, had altered work scheduled. We want to commend those employees, who worked through scheduling changes, and extended hours during this time.

At the same time, our office at city hall has undergone some changes. We now have Plexiglas at the back entrance; as well as a door into the lobby. We have masks and sanitizer available. We also have alternated at a couple of times the availability to get into the office. The front lobby door remains closed; and, the back is closed (but, the public can call and make an appointment). Our office area for the lobby is small; and, we must limit that. We do have several options available to pay gas bills (online, in the drop box at the back entrance, call in).

Gas Department
We are pleased that a project that has been considered for the city on/off for numerous years has some to fruition. The Green Hills Project, which takes the gas from Fairgrounds Street/Highway 206, down Green Hills Road, down East 80, to the Churchill Estates. We completed the project just a few weeks ago; and, the first customers are now signing on.

Our gas department will be working on the lines to the residents in these areas. If you want more information, please contact 270-384-2501.

The gas department had the maintenance building painted on Tutt Street; as well as the regulator stations; and, will be continuing painting the meters. Some lines that has been abandoned on Highway 206 were taken out of service.

Grant Applications
We received the funding for the ARC-Flex Funding through the Center for Rural Development. This is the first step in the project of the new park on Burkesville Street.

We received funding from the Kentucky League of Cities for a safety grant.

The city received a grant from the USDA Community Facilities. The Columbia City Police Department is utilizing for a police vehicle with trailer that will be used for drug education.

Other grants in process:
  • a. USDA grant for gas line extension to Milltown Church area. Approximate: $700,000.
  • b. Funding through the Appalachian Regional Commission: $400,000. Milltown Church gas project.
  • c. Funding through Economic Development Administration: $1.5 million to be used for a building for economic development.
  • d. $300,000. Through USDA Community Facilities: Maintenance Building for city departments (Street, Parks and Recreation, and Sanitation).
  • e. Grant through Land and Water Conservation: water feature at city park on Fairgrounds Street.

CARES Funding
  • 1. We applied for and received over $333,000. In the first round of CARES funding.
  • 2. The second round has been applied for, approved, and awaiting final paperwork to process for reimbursement. Just over: $103,000.
  • Retirements
  • 1. Donnie Rowe, who worked for the street department for over 30 years, retired in November.
  • 2. Roger Coffey, who was with the street department for 16 years, retired in September.
  • 3. Robert Montgomery will be retiring at the end of the month.

Trabue Russell House
  • 1. Over 30 rosebushes were donated in memory of/in honor of local residents. We appreciate this contribution to our town. Mary Ann Loy took care of the garden and the organization of this project.
  • 2. The big tree in front was taken down due to safety concerns; and, the health of the tree. Our thanks to Dwan Hadley who assisted our Parks and Recreation Department in distributing this wood to local residents.
  • 3. A Plant Swap Day was held; and, went well for the first such day of activity.
  • 4. Roof repair, drywall repair, replacement of lights, filters.

  • 1. Local residents adopted a plant bed on the square (we had more that wanted a bed than we were able to provide).
  • 3. Although we didn't have a "Truck It Up," we did have several food trucks in the city parking lot this fall.
  • 4. We striped the city parking lot on the corner of Campbellsville Street.
  • 5. The benches on the area in the fountain were reviewed and repaired.

Parks and Recreation
  • 1. This department continues to remain busy. Our new park on Burkesville Street is planning changes this year. Mike Watson, local historian, was reviewing all paperwork/books in the home (when fire occurred). Mike is currently reviewing any books in the former law office at the bottom of the hill.
  • 2. The Little League Park had several repairs. Fence capping replaced on two fences. Road behind fields completed.
  • 3. Cookout Restaurant donated their outside tables to the Little League Park.
  • 4. Work on restrooms completed, water leak repaired.
  • 5. A Blessing Box was installed at the city park on Fairgrounds Street. (Thanks Stacia and Amanda).
  • 6. Fence installed at park on Fairgrounds Street. Parking buffers from Cookout Restaurant installed at park.
  • 7. We gained another park with the addition of the Roadside Park. We have agreed to name it in honor of local veterans in cooperation with the local VFW.
  • 8. We have done some repairs (minor) at the roadside park.

Drive-Through Christmas
  • 1. Our first Drive-Through Christmas was a success. We appreciate the approximately 40 businesses, organizations, individuals that participated. We thank Bloomington Chapel Church for their Live Nativity.

Community Activities
Even though we were limited in our interactions this year, we found some ways to bring the spirit of Columbia to others.

  • 1. Paint The Square: Businesses, churches, and individuals did drawings on the sidewalk. Awarded prizes donated by Mayor and Robertson Pools.
  • 2. Fall decorating contest (business and home). Winners were: Chase and Breanna Coffey and Adair Animal Hospital.
  • 3. Brought food trucks in limited capacity back to city parking lot.
  • 4. Thanksgiving people pulled over by Columbia Police Department given country ham and/or gift certificate.
  • 5. Christmas drive-through. Thanks so much to all participants.
  • 6. Did a photo contest on Beauty in Columbia.
  • 7. We made the top ten in the Americas Main Street Contest sponsored by Independent We Stand.
  • 8. We were ranked as the 2nd safest town in Kentucky.
  • 9. We delivered throws to several residents. Also, we did a food drive and delivered boxes.

Economic Development
  • 1. Dairy Queen is now at the intersection of Bomar Heights, Jamestown Street, and Tutt Street. We welcome Fourteen Foods to our community.
  • 2. Cookout Restaurant have cleared their property; and, indicate construction starting in March.
  • 3. Virginia Outfitters opened on Tutt Street. Libby's opened on Campbellsville Road.
  • 4. The First and Farmers Bank have had a groundbreaking for their new bank location.
  • 5. Senture had several work from home positions filled by our residents. (Close to 90 people have been hired).
  • 6. We are working with a manufacturing company that hopefully will be able to come to Columbia soon.
  • 7. Pepes Grill opened on Campbellsville Road and Sugarbellas on Jamestown Street. Columbia Pharmacy opened on Burkesville Road, L&N Firearms on Campbellsville Road, Southern Nest Realty.
  • 8. Happy Cow Cafe opened on Burkesville Road.
  • 9. Wild and Free and Three Blessings moved to the square. Diamonds on the Square (formerly Grimsley's).

We are so excited about these businesses and more (in the future) are choosing Columbia for their home.

Light Development
  • 1. We finished the next phase of lighting at the Dohoney Trace/Patricia Trail area. We are talking to the RECC about a plan for lights extension down Burkesville Road.

Caly's Line
  • 1. We appreciate Stacey Hatcher Wilson and her commitment to drug enforcement in our community. With her support, Caly's Line was initiated in the community. 270-378-2259 (CALY).

Pamela Hoots,

This story was posted on 2020-12-30 11:53:20
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