The City of Jenkins took one step closer to the construction of a long awaited memorial to local World War II veterans, as architect Jarred Tackett of Richardson Associates presented drawings of the proposed memorial for the approval of the Jenkins City Council at its January meeting Tuesday night.
Tackett gave each board member a handout describing the monument in detail and presented the “boards” with drawings of the monument from different angles. Tackett told the council he hopes the people of Jenkins will be proud of the monument and said Richardson Associates had worked to make it fit with the traditional brickwork in the city, much of which came from the old Consol brickworks. The monument is a wall design with steps and has room for a statue if funding is available.
Tackett told the council the monument is designed so it will look complete with or without the statue and said he hopes it is finished by the time of the next Jenkins Homecoming Festival. He added that Mary Ann Mullins, who was unable to attend the meeting, and Fifth District Letcher County Magistrate Wayne Fleming have driven the project. The council voted unanimously to approve the drawings.
Fleming said Mrs. Mullins has approximately 600 names that will be included on the monument and said as far as he knows they will not be listed by branch of service. He said there will be plaques for each branch of service but said he doesn’t know if the number of names will allow for rank to be listed. Mayor G. C. Kincer said he would like to have a very large flag for the flagpole on the monument, but Mayor Pro-Tem Roger Profit said the flag has to be in proportion to the length of the flagpole. Fleming said bids would be let for the project with and without the statue.
Fleming also asked the council’s permission to begin seeking funds for a monument to honor coal miners to be placed in the area of the Jenkins Public Library and the World War II Monument. He said he hopes to be able to come up with enough funding to have a statue of a miner like the one at the Benham Coal Museum. The council approved Fleming’s request.
In other business, Matt Curtis of Nesbitt Engineering announced that work on Phase I of the Payne Gap Water Project is about 20 percent complete and that pipeline is currently being laid. Curtis said he is working with state highway department engineers on obtaining signage to protect workers alongside US 119 and asked the driving public to be aware of the workers.
Curtis also told the council that proposals for Community Development Block Grants have been submitted for Phase II of the Jenkins Waterline Replacement Project, which will start behind the old Wright’s Market building and run to Burdine. Curtis also proposed a public meeting for the Payne Gap project and said that as soon as all the details are complete he will ask Mayor Kincer to set a date for the meeting to allow Payne Gap residents to sign up for water service.
In other business, Mayor Kincer showed the council an award presented by PRIDE to the city for having the highest level of participation in a PRIDE cleanup by a Class III city. Kincer said the credit all goes to Mason Tackett who organized the cleanup and who raised funds from businesses and individuals in the city to sponsor the work. Kincer also thanked EQT and Ferus Inc. for their donations to the cleanup effort.
Kincer also mentioned a request by the Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education seeking the city’s support a new school for Jenkins. Kincer said that while he had signed on with his individual support he did not do so as a spokesman for the city. He said the council would have to approve supporting a new school and said he would like to invite a representative of the school board to attend the next council meeting to explain the board’s position.
Kincer also told the council he is excited about the city’s plans to become a natural gas distributor and said plans are underway to make that a reality. Kincer said Ferus Inc. will be the city’s first customer, but said the plan calls for gas lines to be extended throughout the city with natural gas available to every home.
Kincer also reminded residents that city stickers are on sale and due January 31. The cost is $10 per vehicle. The council voted unanimously to give one sticker to each member of the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department at no cost.
Mayor Pro-Tem Profitt presented a picture of Jenkins dignitaries and state personnel taken at the July 17, 1925 opening of the road (now US 23) across Pound Gap. Profitt said the picture came courtesy of Sam Collins of Whitesburg, who had researched the photograph and matched each picture with the name of the individual.
In other business:
• The council voted unanimously to name three sections of road to honor coal companies that have played a major part in the life of the city. Highway 805 from Burdine to City Hall will be named for Consolidation Coal Company. Highway 805 from Dunham to City Hall will be named for Beth- Elkhorn Corporation. The road turning down from US 119 that runs by Jenkins High School will be named for TECO. All the road names are unofficial as they are state highways.
• Mayor Kincer told the council that Intermountain Cable will allow the city to use cable channel 99 as a city government channel to broadcast weather and local news announcements.
• Kincer proposed the city’s Board of Ethics be reinstated and suggested several citizens as possible members. He also asked the council to suggest names as well. Kincer’s suggestions were Kyle Walker, former mayor Robert “Pud” Shubert, Fred Fleming, Letcher County Economic Development Director Joe De- Priest, and Letha Bailey. Kincer said the council will have final approval of board members.
• The city experienced high unaccounted-for water losses in December with an unaccounted loss of 59 percent. It produced 13,875,000 gallons and sold 3,858,000 for total losses of 10,017,000. Unaccounted losses stood at 8,157,000 gallons.