Work is progressing on the first phase of the Daniel Boone Hotel restoration project, and the members of the Whitesburg City Council will soon be treated to a guided tour of the interior of the structure by the contractors.
At the council’s September meeting Tuesday night, Mayor James Wiley Craft reported that work is slightly ahead of schedule on the demolition of the debris in the building. Craft also said some of the old lumber left in the interior is salvageable and can be used in some fashion when the building is restored.
Craft said he has not been on the inside of the structure yet because he doesn’t have a hardhat, but has looked into the building from outside. He passed pictures of the work-inprogress around to council members, and he said that when it is safe and feasible for visitors, the entire council will be given protective equipment and will be able to tour the building to see the progress that has been made. Craft said it is very exciting to see the progress that has been made on the first stage. So far, no date on the council visit has been set.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to approve the second reading of Ordinance 2019-5, which keeps city property taxes at $.34 per $100 for Real Property and Personal Property. The rates are unchanged since the current council came into office, when it lowered the rate from $.37 per $100 to the current rate. Ordinance 2019-5 will become law after it is published in The Mountain Eagle.
A delegation from the Mountain Heritage Festival Committee led by committee member Lee Adams visited the meeting to request the council’s customary cooperation with the festival. The city annually provides access to several city parking lots including the ones at the Veteran’s Museum and behind the Harry M. Caudill Library and closes the ramp to the bypass for the vendors’ area. The city also provides other services and closes city streets for the Saturday parade. The council voted unanimously to provide the usual level of cooperation and Craft praised the committee members for the hard work they do on an annual basis to make the Mountain Heritage Festival one of the top festivals in Kentucky. Craft also asked the council to provide the regular $2,000 gift it makes every year to help with the costs of the festival. The council voted unanimously to provide the funds and extend the city’s cooperation.
Councilman Mike Jackson reported on the success of the Ride for Hope, which was held in Whitesburg last weekend. Jackson said the 347 motorcyclists that participated in the ride raised $19,700 to provide gas cards for cancer patients, to be used when the patients travel for treatment. Mayor Craft praised the riders and said he had spoken with the organizers and they want to hold the ride in Whitesburg again next year.
Whitesburg Lawyer Daniel Dotson spoke to the council and asked for help from the city in dealing with a burned-out building in front of a house on High Street that belongs to his wife Ashley. Dotson said the house on the property in question burned several years ago and the debris has not been removed. Dotson added that it devalues the property around it and the yard is overgrown and strewn with junk. Dotson said the owners stay in another house on the property approximately once a month. Mayor Craft said the city will do everything in its power to address the situation and have the debris removed and the property cleaned up.
City Manager Chris Caudill told the council there had been a major water line break on the bypass early on Tuesday and city workers replaced a 20-foot section of line. He added that the city and Nesbitt Engineering are seeking grant funding to replace all the water line on the Whitesburg Bypass as well as in several parts of the city. Caudill said he and other workers in the water plant are working on installing the new radio read water meters. He said the learning curve on the new meters is steep and it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Councilman John Pellegrini asked if the meters that will service larger accounts will be prioritized for early installation and Caudill said they will. Mayor Craft added that the city recently made the final payment on a $63,000 gear that had to be fabricated for one of the clarifiers in the wastewater treatment plant last year.
Mayor Craft reported that progress is being made on the fountains he ordered for the city, and said the one in front of City Hall is doing very well. Council Member Sheila Shortt commented on the Rob Run car show event and said it was very successful. Craft said there were 451 cars in the show, including over 50 Chevrolet Corvettes.