The Whitesburg City Council heard a proposal for a farmer’s market and some bad news about water lines and sewer lift stations at its February meeting Tuesday night.
Water Maintenance Director Chris Caudill told the council that pumps at a number of sewer lift stations had gone down recently and while some will be able to be rebuilt, at least one and maybe more will require new pumps.
Caudill said the entire pump station at Tunnel Hill needs to be rehabilitated and the station behind Western Auto has one pump that will have to be replaced and another that might be rebuildable. A pump at another station at Upper Bottom was un-repairable and Caudill said it would cost $6,387.00 to replace it. He said the city has a total of 16 lift stations with 32 pumps.
Caudill also said the section of water line that serves Mayking that he reported on at last month’s meeting has become worse and will require work. At the last council meeting he reported that the water line, which runs under the old Craft’s Colly railroad bridge, has been stretched by the river current until it bowed out as much as 20 to 30 feet from its original position.
Caudill said the estimated cost to replace the line and run it under the North Fork of the Kentucky River is $18,500.
Caudill also told the council the pumps at the high school lift station will not handle the additional load from the new vocational school and estimated the cost of replacing them at between $30,000 and $60,000, depending on how much of the work could be done in-house.
Whitesburg Mayor James Wiley Craft told Caudill that “years of benign neglect are catching up with us.” Craft pointed out that Councilman Tim Sexton, who sat next to Craft, had totaled the needed repairs and arrived at the price of $83,000. Craft said the first order of business would be to seek funding, provided the council approved the repairs. He said the pumps at the high school are the city’s responsibility regardless of the reason they are failing. Councilman John Williams moved that the council authorize the mayor to work with Caudill to determine what will be required and “do what‘s best for the city.”
Caudill also told the council that city water workers had to run 250 feet of two-inch water line to the Letcher County School Board offices. Caudill said the board annex building had been built over the existing line and a leak there had lowered pressure to the board offices and a trailer nearby. City workers could not get under the building to repair the old line.
Ben West asked the council to vote to support a farmer’s market at the city parking lot on Saturdays, and Mayor Craft was enthusiastic about the prospect. Craft said he had long favored a farmer’s market and thought it would be a solid asset for the city. West said he had done a good deal of research on farmer’s markets and gave the council a prepared flier that listed a number of benefits.
West reminded the council that Letcher County had an agrarian lifestyle for a long time and said there is a lot of excellent farmland that is currently unused.
Craft said asked the council to approve the establishment of a farmer’s market. The vote was unanimous.