Wednesday, October 19, 2011

City council discusses recycling, Renaissance, Francisco's Farm, scout projects, more

By Dick Yarmy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Midway City Council played to a standing-room only crowd Monday night in what longtime council watcher John McDaniel called “the best meeting I’ve seen in a while.”

The standing room was rectified with the arrival of extra chairs as the council discussed issues ranging from recycling a business study to Eagle Scout projects, and received updates on Midway Renaissance and planning for the 2012 Francisco’s Farm Art Festival.

Recycling: “Name me a business that can show a 53 percent increase in productivity,” Magistrate Bruce Gill said as he ran the numbers describing improvements in Woodford County’s recycling efforts.

Gill reported how grant monies were used for machinery that has all but eliminated using middlemen to sell recycled products. By bundling the materials and taking only mill-ready material to the end user, the county is receiving top prices, Gill said.

The county received $186,000 for recycled materials this year and kept 1,100 tons of material out of the landfill. By not using the landfill, Gill estimated, the county saved fees of more than $60,000. “That savings goes un-noticed,” he said. Midway residents pay county taxes.

The problem of not accepting fiberboard, which drew criticism from the city last February, was addressed by recycling resource coordinator Nola Serber. She reminded the council that in addition to household material, they are handling 204 businesses five days a week. “We take everything, but glass, and we’re working on that right now,” she said.

Renaissance: “I can see an opportunity for this community,” said Council Member Becky Moore, as she reviewed the status of the group. “It is a very well established, driven 501(c)(3) organization, and depending on who’s on the board ... it can go in whatever direction the community wants it to go.” Renaissance is recruiting volunteers and board members to fill vacancies created by three retiring board members. Moore directed interested parties to the organization’s website for more information.

The status of the Francisco’s Farm festival was covered in a report from event coordinator Marcie Christensen, right (photo from a different meeting). The event planning committee is proposing June 23-24 for the festival and recommending it remain at Equus Run Vineyards, where it was moved last year. This recommendation will be offered to the Renaissance board for approval.

The board has said it needs to know who will be responsible for the finances and momentum of the festival. Co-chairs for the festival are Equus Run owner Cynthia Bohn and Sarah Hicks. Bozarth asked, “Who is ultimately responsible for Francisco’s Farm?” Christensen replied, “Midway Rennaisance.”

Market study: “The right direction for Midway has to come at the intersection of community desire and market potential.” That’s what Josh Bloom, principal in the Community Land Use and Economics Group, said at a public meeting last March. CLUE was hired to prepare a state-funded market study of Midway’s business potential, administered by Renaissance. The completed study is now available on the Renaissance website, Christensen said.

She called attention to the retail and restaurant tip sheets, designed to help businesses improve traffic and sales. McDaniel, president of the Midway Business Association, said downtown merchants are already using some of the suggestions and added some have purchased virtual business tours to increase their online presence.

Eagle Scouts: The community projects that Boy Scouts Tim Hagan and William Borland are mounting to gain the Eagle rank continued to gain momentum. Both gave the council addenda to their proposals, filling in details needed to gain the council’s approval. The council voted to let Bozarth grant final approvals and schedules for the projects.

Hagan’s dog park project received an additional boost. Donations of resources and materials were pledged to help reduce the cost. “I called in a few favors,’ Bozarth said as he told Hagen about the contributions. (He said after the meeting that posts have been donated by Shadwell Farm and the concrete is being donated by John and Jim McDaniel in honor of their dogs Little Man and Molly.) Borland is mapping and cleaning cemeteries.

Other business: The council set Nov. 19 as the day to dispose of large items, at the old sewer plant from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Bozarth said the city’s property maintenance code needs to be strengthened. He appointed a committee of council members to work on it: Joy Arnold, Dan Roller and Moore, his predecessor as mayor.

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