Wednesday, October 3, 2018

City funds barrel chair project; looks to rezone lands in and near Midway Station, get access to Elkhorn Creek

By Hannah Woosley
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

With hope that other governments will follow suit, the Midway City Council voted 5-1 Monday to give $1,000 to the Woodford County Barrel Project, which will make chairs from recycled bourbon barrels and display them throughout the county.

Example of a bourbon barrel chair
Dan Rosenberg, representing the project, gave the council two options: a $1,000 sponsorship to bring a chair to Midway, commission an artist to decorate the chair, display it for six weeks period then auction the chair; or a $2,000 sponsorship to bring the chair to Midway, collaborate with the artist on the design and keep the chair in Midway permanently.

Because the council chose the $1,000 sponsorship, the chair must be auctioned at the end of the display period. Rosenberg said the money received from the auction will go back into another barrel chair for Midway, or another community project.

Rosenberg said he has applied for a grant from the Woodford County Bluegrass Community Foundation to create a map to mark the areas a chair will be displayed for tourists and residents to see them all.

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift asked Rosenberg if Versailles and the county government were supporting the project, and Rosenberg said he didn’t know. He said he had about 12 sponsors lined up.

Vandegrift commended Rosenberg for the idea, but called for cooperation. “I think community spirit in Midway is great, but I admit the community spirit between Versailles, Midway and the rest of the county is lacking in some ways,” he said.

The payment for the 36-inch-tall, 35-inch-wide chair is due Nov. 30, and the chair will be made and displayed next year.

Rezoning for industry: The Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission has approved an application for rezoning a little over 73 acres in Midway Station, from residential to industrial. Vandegrift said he would call a special meeting to first reading of the rezoning ordinance. He said after the meeting that the city hadn't had time to draft a rezoning ordinance.

UPDATE: The meeting has been called for noon Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Dennis Anderson, of Anderson Communities in Lexington, optioned Midway Station for residential and commercial development in 2008, but after the Great Recession hit and recovery began, the land became attractive to employers: American Howa, an auto-parts company, and Lakeshore Learning Materials, which built a distribution center.

Anderson and the Woodford County Economic Development Authority decided against residential construction on the property, and city officials have agreed.

A company that is asking to remain anonymous until a deal is possibly closed could bring 32 jobs to Midway on this land if the area is rezoned, according to Vandegrift.
Vision Engineering map, labeled by Midway Messenger, shows in red (and a small block of green) the property that is the subject of a rezoning ordinance to will get first reading Tuesday. The county will have say-so in rezoning the large green tract.
Creek access: Another rezoning, next to Midway Station, has been proposed by the EDA and landowner Homer Freeny. The 138 acres of farmland on the northern boundary of Midway Station and Georgetown Road, which is already designated as a future workplace in the county’s Comprehensive Plan and is in the urban services area, would be rezoned to light industrial.

Freeny said in a letter to the commission that in return for to access McKinney Avenue from his land, he would allow access through his land to South Elkhorn Creek for recreational purposes. There is no public access to the creek in the area. The rezoning application has been delayed pending a plan for developing the tract.

Vandegrift said, “I think we need to keep moving forward with this idea that Mr. Freeny has pushed forward, especially with its access to the creek.” He also said, “I think rezoning this to [light industrial] makes the most sense.” Unlike Midway Station, the property is outside the city limits, so the Woodford County Fiscal Court will have final say on the rezoning.

Halloween: The council approved Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. for this year’s trick-or-treat.

Fire Department: A ceremony honoring former Assistant Fire Chief Vincent Price’s service to Midway will be held Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Midway Fire Station. All are welcome to attend.

Movie crew coming: A romantic comedy by Lucky Day Studios, tentatively titled “AugustFall In Love,” will be filmed in Midway, using the city's real name, Vandegrift said. He said after the meeting that the movie will air on the Hallmark Channel and shooting is to start around Oct. 31.

Sidewalks: Vandegrift said the city will advertise this fall for residents who want their sidewalks fixed. Last year the city began a program to pay up to $1,000 for a property’s sidewalk repairs. The sidewalks will be fixed in the spring, he said.

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