Whitesburg Mayor James W. Craft announced he is seeking reelection.
“I filed for re-election as mayor because there are projects we have started that I want to see come to a fruition,” said Craft, who filed his candidacy papers this week.
Among the projects Craft cited is the planned restoration of the old Daniel Boone Hotel on Main Street. The Dawahare family donated the building to the City of Whitesburg this past winter.
“We want to restore that to its former glory to make it look like it did in 1918,” he said.
Craft also wants the city to purchase the old Whitesburg High School building and turn it into an assisted living facility.
“We’re hot on the trail for money for it,” he said.
Craft said several other reconstruction projects also need to be started.
During his first term as mayor, the Whitesburg City Council voted unanimously May 11, 2007 to approve an ordinance which formally legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages in the city for the first time since shortly after the end of World War II. The council’s action was made possible when city voters went to the polls on April 17, 2007 and approved a referendum calling for the restaurant-only alcohol sales by a vote of more than two to one.
Craft and the council also built the James W. Bates Bridge, a pe- destrian bridge named after Whitesburg City Council Member Jimmy Bates, a Vietnam veteran and past state commander of the Whitesburg Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization. The $325,000 bridge was built in downtown Whitesburg across the North Fork of the Kentucky River near the end of Broadway Street. The bridge, designed by Nesbitt Engineering in Lexington, connects Broadway Street to a walking trail that leads to the old Whitesburg High School football field.
The pedestrian bridge is made of weathering steel like a bridge in Salyersville in Magoffin County, which Craft said will save a lot of money over the years because the steel does not have to keep being repainted. The bridge, with dimensions of 90 feet long and 16 feet wide, has a slight arch and a concrete deck.
Craft said $70,000 spent on engineering and site preparation was funded through taxes collected through the sales of alcohol in local restaurants. The bridge itself was paid for with a federal T-21 grant of $176,000 from the Department of Transportation and by the City of Whitesburg.
The tennis courts and the municipal swimming pool in West Whitesburg were also refurbished during Craft’s first mayoral term. The River Park beside the Whitesburg hospital was renovated as well, while benches have been added to downtown as well as a public address system.
“We’re going to continue the new spirit that the City of Whitesburg has,” said Craft.
As the Aug. 10 filing deadline for candidates running in non-partisan races in the November General Election rapidly approaches, only two other candidates besides Craft have filed to run for office.
Lisa Caudill has filed with the Letcher County Clerk’s Office to run for a seat on the Letcher County Board of Education.
Larry Everidge filed papers to run for Whitesburg City Council. Everidge was sworn in as a council member on Aug. 11, 2009, after Perry Fowler resigned.