Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mayor says E. Stephens Street speed bumps will be removed and a refund sought from the vendor

Photo provided by the mayor shows bump is missing a section.
The removable speed bumps on East Stephens Street, which have been welcomed, reviled and avoided, will be taken up because they have suffered damage that can't be repaired, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift announced Thursday morning.

"Due to irreparable damage to the speed humps on E. Stephens, I have instructed city workers to remove them immediately," Vandegrift said in an email to city officials and the news media. "I will be contacting the company, Barco Products, to notify them of our expectation of a full refund." He said later that the expense was about $5,300.

Asked if there was any chance that the damage might the result of vandalism, Vandegrift replied, "It doesn't appear that way, but we haven't ruled it out completely."

Another photo from the mayor shows the missing piece.
Vandegrift and Council Member Bruce Southworth, who lives near the site, were leading advocates of measures to slow down traffic on the street, which runs past Midway University and the Homeplace at Midway, and becomes Weisenberger Mill Road at the city limits.

Some motorists said the bumps were too high, and the Homeplace and emergency medical services complained about them, so last month Vandegrift got the council to authorize him to buy a lower model. "Since these have deteriorated so rapidly, I don't plan on using the same company, and want to evaluate other options before installing more speed bumps," he said in a follow-up email.

The mayor said in his first email, "We will continue to pursue ways to effectively slow high traffic speeds on that stretch of E. Stephens, as well as any other road within the city where speeding persists," he wrote. "Feel free to contact me with any questions." His address is mayorgrayson@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New county fire department station under construction; could help clear the way for an ambulance station

Work continued this morning just west of Midway on the new station for the Woodford County Fire Department, following removal of rock and placing of a culvert last week. Local officials hope the site of the current station can be repurposed into an ambulance station for the northern part of the county.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lanes, ramp at Newtown Pike interchange to be closed

Light blue line shows where interstate lane will be closed. One lane of
northbound Newtown Pike, south of the interchange, will also be closed.
If you're heading into Lexington via Interstate 64 and Newtown Pike this weekend, be aware of road construction.

The state Transportation Cabinet says temporary ramp and lane closures are scheduled in and around the Newtown Pike (KY 922) interchange from 7 pm. Friday, July 21 through 5 a.m. Monday, July 24.

The ramp from Newtown Pike to I-75/64 southeast will be closed for rehabilitation work, and the far right of the interstate through most of the interchange will be closed for concrete patching work. Two lanes will remain open.

Also, one lane of Newtown Pike northbound from Coleman Court to the interstate bridge (about a quarter-mile) will be closed for concrete patching work. One lane will remain open.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Raise gets first reading; Simoff says proposed council pay should be halved; 'Old Smoky' could still come

Member John McDaniel seemed
dressed for the occasion as the
council proposed a pay raise.
The Midway City Council gave first reading Monday night to an ordinance that would give the mayor and council elected next year big pay increases, but one council member said he would try to cut the council's proposed salary in half.

The long-discussed plan would raise the mayor's annual pay to $12,000 from $1,200, and the council's $600 salary to $4,800 a year. In monthly terms, the mayor would go from $100 to $1,000, and the council would go from $50 to $400.

Council Member Steve Simoff said he would propose at the next meeting, on Aug. 7, that the council members elected in November 2018 be paid $200 a month, or $2,400 a year. "We're all doing it for fifty dollars right now," Simoff said. "I just want everybody to kind of think about it."

There was no response to Simoff's suggestion. Council Member Libby Warfield, who has been the one most publicly skeptical of the proposal, was not in attendance.

Proponents of the raise have said it is long overdue and the council and mayor are badly underpaid, especially in light of the the increased responsibilities they have as Midway grows and Midway Station develops. The council could vote to enact the raises at the next meeting. For a copy of the proposed ordinance, click here.

The caboose is near the Corman track.
Locomotive needs financial fuel: Council Member John McDaniel announced that the R.J. Corman Railroad Group still has a grant available to place its "Old Smoky" steam locomotive in Midway. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said the grant is for $180,000 but the cost of the project is estimated at $250,000, so the city and Corman would have to raise private money.

Vandegrift said the Corman family wants the locomotive "displayed prominently downtown," in a see-through enclosure like the one it once had in Lexington, so the likely location is where a Corman caboose now sits, at the east end of the United Bank parking lot. Placing it there will require a retaining wall and an easement on the adjoining property, he said.

The mayor said after the meeting that a possible new location for the caboose would be the hill above the intersection of Leestown Road (US 421) and Georgetown Road (KY 341), which intersects with Interstate 64, so it would greet traffic coming into town from the freeway and remind visitors of Midway's status as the first Kentucky town founded by a railroad.

Lakeshore sign and jobs: The council voted to ask the county Planning and Zoning Commission to amend its industrial-sign ordinance in a way that would allow Lakeshore Learning Materials to have a proportionally sized sign for the distribution center it is building in Midway Station.

Vandegrift said the size limit on industrial signs is 300 square feet, which "would be a dwarf sign on a five hundred thousand square-foot building." The change would remove the absolute limit but keep the ordinance's maximum of one square foot of sign for each lineal foot of building frontage. He said he had discussed the change with Planning Director Pattie Wilson and expects the commission to make the recommendation and send it back to the council for final approval.
Photo illustration shows how Lakeshore's sign would look if the industrial-sign ordinance is changed to allow it.
Lakeshore official Paul Chisholm showed the council a rendering of how the 40-foot-wide sign would look on the 575-foot-wide building. Asked about outside lighting, he said it would come from light-emitting diodes, directed downward, to limit light pollution.

Chisholm said work is on schedule and the company expects to get an occupancy permit Aug. 4 and begin the interview and hiring process there. The schedule calls for the plant to be active on Sept. 29 and make its first shipments in early November. It is expected to employ 262 people after two years.

Electric-car charging: The council agreed to reserve two spaces at the back corner of the City Hall parking lot for an electric-vehicle charging station to be installed at no cost to the city by Kentucky Utilities. Vandegrift said KU had already picked Midway to be one of 20 towns with such stations. The council also authorized him to sign a memorandum of understanding with KU.

Council Member Sara Hicks, who had pushed the idea, said it would attract new visitors to town and generate business because "They'll have to sit around for an hour" while their vehicles charge. Vandegrift said, "It's just the next step in becoming a greener city."

Other business: The council accepted a series of bids for surplus equipment, the largest sale being $350, bid by Thomas Walton for a 5-by-10-foot trailer. Brian Boettcher got a 1990 Ford Ranger truck for $250 and Simoff got a 1994 Jeep Cherokee for $186. He abstained on the vote. Council Member Bruce Southworth was among four bidders for the trailer. For the bids and the rest of the council's meeting packet, click here.

The council also approved an event permit for the "Hope for Tomorrow" 5-kilometer and 1-mile races on Nov. 4, and an encroachment permit for 216 Higgins St.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Message from the mayor: City invests in infrastructure

By Grayson Vandegrift
Mayor, City of Midway

One of the most important issues that any city, state or nation faces is one that often gets talked about the least. It’s costly, it’s complicated, and sometimes you can’t see it at all, but it’s ever-present in our lives. I’m of course talking about infrastructure, and while I’m proud of the steps we’ve been taking to improve ours, I’m the first to admit we’ve still got a long way to go. That’s why I’m pleased with the budget that the council passed for fiscal year 2017-2018, which took effect July 1, and I thought I’d relate a few of the highlights relating to infrastructure.

The appropriation for road paving is $32,000, with the stretch of East Stephens between Oak and Smith being a priority. We’ve budgeted about a third less in sidewalk improvements from the year before, but that’s actually a blessing in disguise: Because we were able to implement the new sidewalk program with full participation from property owners, we came in well under budget. I fully expect that program will continue to be a success. We’re also making a push to repair long-neglected storm sewers around the city, with $10,000 earmarked for that.

In the water and sewer end of things, we’ve budgeted $35,000 in capital improvements for our wastewater treatment plant, and we’ll be making other small improvements to the system knowing we’ll have some more major projects on the horizon. We’re “peeling the onion” of water and sewer infrastructure repair one layer at a time, because we’re all determined to make the necessary improvements without raising rates.

For a full version of the budget, please call or visit city hall and we’ll be happy to make you a copy. (Or you can download the most recent budget tracking report here.)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Katie Comley and her shop Breckinridge are honored for 25 years in business on Main Street

Members of the Midway Business Association gathered with Mayor Grayson Vandegrift Wednesday morning as he presented Katie Comley of the shop Breckinridge, next to City Hall, with a proclamation recognizing her 25 years in business on Main Street. From left are Pat Logan, MBA President Peggy Angel, City Council Member John McDaniel, Comley, Vandegrift and MBA membership chair Steve Morgan. The proclamation, which was a surprise and declared today "Breckinridge Day," said Comley "has become known as a steady entrepreneur and friendly face in our city."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Annual Sparks in the Park event draws crowd July 3

The annual Sparks in the Park event was held at Walter Bradley Park Monday evening, July 3. The city provided a barbecue dinner with bottled water, as well as a bouncy house for children. Vendors offered ice cream, kettle corn and lemonade.

Though the name of the event may imply that it includes fireworks for the Fourth of July, the only sparks were "all our little ones running around," Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said. He is at left with his son, Jackson.