At its first meeting after the death of longtime council member Rebecca Terrill Amburgey, the Jenkins City Council was faced with the duty to fill her vacant seat at its February meeting. The council also heard voted to honor Amburgey during the annual Jenkins Homecoming Festival.
Jenkins resident Jimmy Polly told the council he had spoken to a number of other citizens and they all agreed that Amburgey had spent much of her life serving the city as a positive force, and had been a presence at almost every event the city conducted. Polly said the group had asked him to draft a resolution asking that one day during the Homecoming Festival would be designated “Becky Day,” since that is how Amburgey was known. He said she had been omnipresent at the festival, parades, and every other city event he could think of and had particularly enjoyed the Homecoming Days Festival, when she rented a large tent in the crafts area for her friends to use as their headquarters.
In addition to proclaiming “Becky Day,” Polly asked that the tent site that she usually rented at the festival be designated as her tent. Mayor Todd Depriest and the council agreed to the request and Depriest said he would ask City Attorney Randall Tackett to draft a proposal for the next meeting.
Following Polly’s request, Mayor Depriest told the council members it was their duty to name a replacement to fill Amburgey’s vacant council seat. City Manager Bennie McCall explained the procedure, and in a closed vote, the council chose Ernestine Hill to fill the vacant seat. Hill, who lives on Lakeside and works at Mountain Comprehensive Health Care in Whitesburg, and Amburgey were close friends.
In other business, the council held the first reading of an ordinance to close the road that runs by Jenkins Middle High School and dead ends at the old tunnel that once led to the old Elkhorn Country Club. The tunnel has been blocked on both sides since the area around the country club was mined and the new US 23 was built. Tackett said Jenkins Schools Superintendent Mike Genton had requested that the road be closed so the school system can qualify for a grant to do ground work and building renovations on the middle high school building. The work includes expanding and leveling the existing parking lot and Tackett said the extra space is necessary to accommodate the school’s needs.
Tackett said he had researched the matter and could not find a specific name for the road, but in the ordinance, it is called Little Elkhorn Road. He said it had also been called the East Side Tunnel Road and Tunnel Road but there was no official designation.
The council also discussed the ongoing problem with road conditions in the area. Councilman Chuck Anderson said that while US 119 is in terrible condition, the part of Highway 805 that runs between Jenkins and Dorton is worse, and the pavement is crumbling in some places.