City starts moving on road projects

Published 9:49 am Thursday, August 22, 2019

The city made early steps in two major projects Tuesday by buying two tracts on Lincoln Street and beginning to identify rights-of-way for a proposed Seventh Street extension.

The Seventh Street project would add a truck route and exit to Kentucky 627 and Veterans Memorial Parkway, to alleviate truck traffic from Gate Precast and the Freeman Corporation. Neighbors have complained about the noise, dust and truck traffic through their residential neighborhood for years, but property owners on the other side have not been amenable to the project.

State transportation officials previously awarded funds to design the project in 2008, but little has happened since. Winchester City Manager Matt Belcher said previously other proposed alignments would run through other residential neighborhoods.

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Tuesday, the Winchester Board of Commissioners voted unanimously for City Attorney Bill Dykeman to begin securing the necessary rights-of-way for the project.

Funding for the project, though, has not been secured.

“Frankly, I don’t know if the Commonwealth of Kentucky will come on board financially or not,” Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said.

Earlier this year, construction was estimated at $3 million, in addition to relocating utilities.

Costs could grow even more if the city has to go through the condemnation process to obtain the necessary property.

The commission also approved two contracts to purchase properties along Lincoln Street for the first phase of the neighborhood redevelopment project.

The city voted to spend $43,000 to buy 37 Flanagan St. and 56 Lincoln St. from R&S Rental Properties and another $40,000 to purchase 12 Lincoln St.

The purchases are funded by a community development block grant the city received.

“You’ll be seeing more and more of these going forward,” Belcher said.

In all, the project will involve 30 properties along Lincoln Street. The buildings will be demolished, the lots will be redrawn to meet current standards, the street will be widened to a proper two-lane road and infrastructure will be upgraded. Phase one of the project will address the west side of Lincoln Street; a second phase would upgrade the east side.

Habitat for Humanity of Madison and Clark Counties is planning to build at least five new homes as part of phase one of the project.

In other action, the city commissioners:

— heard a presentation about the upcoming U.S. Census.

— voted to spend up to $500 to sponsor the program for the Clark County Football Classic.

— appointed commissioners JoEllen Reed and Ramsey Flynn to a joint committee about EMS in Clark County.

— approved downtown Winchester development investment fund grant programs.

— approved the installation of two street lights on Linden Lane.

— voted 3-2 to spend approximately $351,000 to pave city streets and alleys. Burtner and Commissioner Shannon Cox voted no, following a lengthy discussion. Burtner said $300,000 was budgeted for paving this year. Paving the streets alone would have cost about $290,000.

— approved a bid for road crack and seal repairs.

— approved an agreement between Winchester Fire-EMS and Frederick Douglass High School to serve as a clinical ride time facility.

— transferred a surplus 2008 Ford Crown Victoria to the Clark County Public Schools for a school resource officer.

— released a tax penalty issued against Commonwealth Anesthesia.

— reappointed Brian Ward and Neal Oliver to the local codes appeals board.

— hired Sherilynn Wilcoxen, Larry Spengler, Roger Hall and Jamie Bromagen as crossing guards.

— hired Kelly Smith as firefighter I/paramedic.

— hired Brandon Lizer as firefighter I/EMT.

— accepted the resignation of Matthew Van Hauter, single role paramedic.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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