Monday, September 21, 2015

Council joins Renaissance in applying for grant to design arts spaces for city park

The Midway City Council voted unanimously this evening to join Midway Renaissance in applying for a grant to design arts performance and display areas and other improvements for Walter Bradley Park and the old quarry and woods adjoining it.

Renaissance President Jim Wombles told the council that city support was needed to start the process of the grant application, which he said would seek an estimated $25,000 to $30,000 to hire "a national landscape architecture firm with an impressive track record."

The firm would design a project that could cost $200,000 or more, creating an amphitheater at the quarry, a stage, walkways and other features, Wombles said after the meeting.

"I'm talking about a huge step," he told the council. "It's not going to happen in a year or two, but it's a step in the right direction."

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said, "We're talking about massive improvement to quality of life" in Midway, giving tourists "another great reason to come visit."

Noting last weekend's Midway Fall Festival and the Francisco's Farm art fair, started by Renaissance, Wombles said, "This town cannot survive on those two functiosn to bring people here." He ssid the city should build on the success of those events.

Wombles said the grant from the National Endowment for the Arts would require a 50-50 match, but "I have no doubt that we could get matching funds. . . . I think the Thoroughbred indiustry will be behind it if we can show them something."

City-county meetings

Vandegrift reported that he had lunch with Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle in Midway today to discuss the mayor's idea for twice-a-year meetiings of the county fiscal county and the Midway and Versailles councils. Coyle and magistrates voiced doubts about the idea recently.

Vandegrift said Coyle made the court's concerns plainer. He said they agreed that before any such meeting would occur, the governing bodies would have to agree on a topic and a moderator.

The mayor called the conversation "very positive," and Midway Magistrate Linda Popp said Coyle agreed to put the idea back on the fiscal-court agenda. But she voiced doubt that her colleagues would accept it. "I can't convince them it's just throwing out ideas and trying to help each other," she said. "They're just not wanting public group meetings."

Popp told Vandegrift, "You need to get it more in line-to-line detail. . . . Unfortunately, in the past, when these entities get together, there's a big blow-up."

Council Member Dan Roller, perhaps offering an olive branch, said "I would like to commend the fiscal court for passing the TIF legislation," the tax-increment financing agreement to redevelop Midway Station. He said that was an example of how the two bodies could work together.

Other business: The council heard various propoals from Steve Mims, who is using the old sewage-treatment plan to raise fish. After some discussion, Vandegrift said City Attorney Phil Moloney would work on amending Mims's contract with the city.

Council Member Bruce Southworth reported that a council committee had discussed speeding on Stephens Street and the feasibility of placing on it speed humps that could be removed in the winter. He said members would like to hear from the public about the idea.

No comments: