Roofing is being laid on the Daniel Boone Hotel, the last work to be done to complete Phase 1 of the restoration of the century-old building.
At last week’s Whitesburg City Council meeting, Mayor James Wiley Craft said the contractors are confident they can finish the roof by February 28, the project deadline.
When roof is complete, the next step will be to address the interior, including rooms, walls and flooring. Load bearing walls and subfloors have already been built, but walls separating individual rooms still need to be constructed. Whitesburg architect Bill Richardson, who did the design for the Phase 1, has laid out the building to include 42 guest rooms.
Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering, which works with the city on infrastructure and funding, reported that a preliminary architectural report is underway for the next phase of the hotel restoration. Nesbitt also introduced Judd Hubbard of Mount Sterling, who was chosen last month as project architect for Phase II.
At its February meeting, the council viewed a short video, “Welcome to Whitesburg,” which was created by the city as an entry for HGTV’s “Hometown Takeover” contest. If Whitesburg is chosen, HGTV will do a makeover of the city and address long-term issues and feature the city in its Hometown Takeover series. Craft praised the video and said it has already been helpful to the city.
The Hometown Takeover process was first undertaken in Laurel, Mississippi, as HGTV personalities Ben and Erin Napier worked with their hometown to renovate it and a number of historic buildings. According to the HGTV website, they also played a pivotal role in helping to revitalize the city’s downtown, and now they are ready to take their process on the road.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to enter into the Municipal Road Aid Cooperative Agreement with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The agreement provides funding that comes from gasoline taxes to cities and counties in Kentucky. The funds are set aside for the reconstruction and maintenance of urban roads and streets. Eligible roads have been identified as city streets.
The agreement will provide $44,315.67 to the city, with the initial distribution of $25,792, 60 percent of the amount, and the second distribution of an amount up to 30 percent of the remainder. The final distribution will cover the final balance. Three percent of the fund will be withheld by the Department of Transportation to serve as an emergency fund.
The council voted unanimously to set the date for Bike Nite as the second Friday of each month. Bike Nite will begin at 6 p.m. and last until 9 p.m. and Main Street will be closed during those hours.
The council also received an assessment on surplus Glock handguns owned by the police department that was done by Roger Eldridge, owner of Blazing Guns Firearms in Whitesburg. In the assessment, Eldridge reported that multiple firearms had mismatched parts including slides, frames, and barrels that had been changed. Eldridge said about 30 percent of the rifling in the barrels is left from shooting practice and regular use. He appraised the firearms to be worth between $125 and $150 each.
Mayor Craft suggested that each of the city’s six police officers be allowed to purchase two of the firearms for personal use and stressed that at this time, the city cannot legally sell the guns to the public. After discussing the possibility of taking the necessary steps for selling to the public, the council voted unanimously to sell the Glocks for $150 each to city police officers.
The council voted to ask Jack Burkich, Chairman of the Housing Project Board of Directors, to re-appoint Fred Webb to another term on the board.
The council also heard a request from Pat Webb, who lives on the hill across Highway 15 opposite the nursing home entrance. Webb asked that a water line that connects to her house be replaced because she has frequent line breaks and often has dirty water. However, Mayor Craft said that the cost to run the new line under the highway would be prohibitive. He said a recent grant will pay the costs of replacing the main line running along the bypass, but will not pay to extend lines to side streets.
Nesbitt said his company is working on a plan to address the infiltration and inflow of water into sanitary sewer systems, usually through broken pipes. The plan is designed to comply with a Corrective Action Plan mandated by the Department of Water.