The annual Jenkins Christmas Parade has joined a number of other festivals and celebrations as a casualty of COVID-19.
At Monday’s meeting of the Jenkins City Council, Mayor Todd Depriest told the council he has had several discussions about the possibility of staging the parade, but he does not believe it can be done without the possibility of spreading the virus.
Depriest made the announcement in response to a question from Council Member Ernestine Hill, who said she had been asked by several citizens if there would be a parade this year. Depriest said he hopes this will be the only time the parade is canceled, but it is just too much of a chance to take this year.
The county is experiencing widespread community transmission of COVID-19, with 24 new cases reported on the day of the meeting.
In other business, Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering reported on several projects his company is working on with the city. Nesbitt said construction on the Marshall’s Branch water project is complete and the contractors are in the cleanup phase of the project. He added that the contractor, Ronnie Mullins and Sons of Elkhorn City, will begin work soon on Phase V of the Jenkins Water Line Replacement Project, which will extend water lines into parts of the city that were difficult to run lines in or only had a few homes. He said Mullins and Sons will begin the work as soon as the clean-up is done in Marshall’s Branch. The work will be paid for by the Department of Abandoned Mine Lands. The Marshall’s Branch project was funded by Beaver Minerals, which bought the mineral rights from Bethlehem Steel.
Nesbitt said he expects work on the Highway 805 bridge project to go to bid in January, and the project will be funded by the Kentucky Department of Transportation. He said he expects construction to begin in January. The design includes a new water line running in front of the Jenkins Fire Station. Nesbitt also said he will participate in a conference call with Governor Andy Beshear, which will include a discussion of the Jenkins Sidewalk Project. He said he hopes issues concerning the project will be resolved during the discussion and it can get underway soon.
Nesbitt said he had spoken with representatives of Abandoned Mine Lands and they asked if there were other fundable projects in Jenkins. He said he had brought up the subject of the downtown city water tank, which will be designated as Phase VI if it is funded. He said AML will conduct a study of the feasibility of the project.
Depriest told the council that state engineers and other officials recently visited the city to inspect the dam, which was built when the city was in 1912. He said he had presented them with all the available paperwork on the dam including an emergency action plan for the city. He added that the Appalachian Regional Commission has also expressed an interest in the dam as well.
Nesbitt said his company has completed a digital report on all the work Nesbitt Engineering has done for the city in the past 20 years and he will present one to Depriest soon. Depriest told the council the city had to renew the adoption of a Title VI Plan from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal assistance. It also states that any entity receiving federal dollars must not discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin. Since the city could receive federal grant funding, it is required to have the Title VI plan in place in order to Implement the Federal Title VI non-discrimination requirements. The council voted unanimously to adopt the plan.