Thursday, March 5, 2015

Merchants back letter questioning Versailles bypass, hear about April 22 cleanup and fairness ordinance

By Arion Wright
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Midway Merchants Association voted Wednesday morning to endorse a letter that expressed the concerns of an alliance of Woodford County groups about the proposed Versailles Connector.

The association also heard from Mayor Grayson Vandegrift about the proposed “fairness ordinance” and from a representative of a nonprofit group seeking sponsors for the Main Street Clean Sweep in 14 Kentucky cities April 22. Members said they were willing to help.

The Corridor Study Group has a drafted a letter to the Northwest Versailles Mobility Corridor Citizens Advisory Committee and representatives of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet that expresses their concerns about the proposed Versailles bypass. The association agreed to have its name placed in the document as representatives of groups who participated in drafting the letter.

“We call it a bypass. The state calls it a connector,” association President Kenny Smith said. “What has been proposed is a bypass that would tie in over by Falling Springs and it would go around Versailles and tie into US 60. The most logical place where it would be able to tie in would be at Midway Road, and it would be directing all this truck traffic right through our town.”

The letter has a list of concerns and possible suggestions. It states that there have been no traffic studies to show the bypass would help, and that it would cause increased traffic and reduced safety on Midway Road (US 62).

The letter suggests, among other things, that better signage would direct truck traffic away from Versailles and Midway Road, and Midway Road could be made safer by moving the “Federal AAA trucking highway” designation from the Midway Road portion of US 62 to part of US 60. For a PDF of the letter, click here.

Next on the agenda was a representative from the nonprofit environmental group Bluegrass Greensource, who talked about the Main Street Clean Sweep.

Businesses from the 14 cities can send volunteers to pick up trash in various parts of their towns as part of the Main Street Clean Sweep.

“It is an Earth Day cleanup,” Bluegrass Greensource Ashley Cheney told the merchants. “We want to encourage businesses to get involved with the cleanup. It will be centered to downtown. It changes for each community. Sometimes the downtown area is not what needs to be cleaned up. Driving around Midway, I see you keep Midway clean. That may not be true for other areas of the town. There may be areas that you know need some attention.”

Cheney said Greensource will provide gloves and bags on April 22, and businesses can provide volunteers, a $100 sponsorship, or a $250 sponsorship. There are various incentives for each donation.

Vandegrift said he was at the meeting to clear up some misconceptions that people may have about the fairness ordinance, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification.

“In the state of Kentucky you can be fired or evicted for being gay,” Vandegrift said. “Businesses with eight or fewer employees are exempt. It will allow everyone to have a right to have a roof over their head and to eat at their favorite restaurant without being discriminated against. People are in favor of the fairness ordinance.”

Vandegrift said opposition is coming from other parts of the county, but he acknowledged that not everyone in Midway is not in favor of the ordinance. He said citizens will be given a chance to talk about it at a public forum at Midway College.

Smith was the only merchant who expressed his opinion at the meeting. He said it wasn’t right for businesses with eight of fewer employees to be exempt.

Each year, artists from all of the world come and showcase their art at the Francisco’s Farm Art Festival. Smith said 121 artists have applied, and the application period has closed. The festival will be at Midway College on May 16 and 17.

There have been concerns about parking. Parking at the college is $5, but downtown it is free. The association plans to have a shuttle from downtown Midway to the college, so it will be easy for people to park their cars downtown area and go to the event.

In the near future, association members will allow artists to showcase their artwork in front of their business as a way to get the word out about the festival.

The association is also making plans for the Breeders’ Cup, to be held at Keeneland Race Course Oct. 30-31.

Smith ended the meeting by talking about upcoming events. Vendor applications are now available for the Fall Festival.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about cleaning up the property around and behind the Midway Body Shop? It is a veritable junk yard and I feel sorry for the residents on N. Winter Street who have that stunning view from their homes.