• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Corman steam engine to city park?

MIDWAY - The city council Monday pondered where to put a train steam engine that the R.J. Corman Railroad Group wishes to donate - after learning that part of the previous site discussed was on private property. During the "Old Business" portion of the meeting, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift told the council that figuring out where to put the engine was "a little more complicated" than planners anticipated. "Actually, it appears that based on the plats and the deeds, that land where the Corman caboose currently resides actually is not on (United) Bank property," Vandegrift said. At the council's Feb. 1 meeting, Vandegrift announced that the R.J. Corman Railroad Group recently learned that a state Transportation Cabinet the company applied for last year was successful. The $193,000 grant could pay most of the cost of a new building next to United Bank to house the "Old Smokey" steam engine, which was built in 1987. The building proposed for that site would be 125 feet long with two steeples and resemble a larger building in downtown Lexington. Vandegrift said Feb. 1 that he and an R.J. Corman official thought moving the caboose inside the building on the east end of the bank property would fit the needs of the city and the state Transportation Cabinet's Historic District Grant. Any deal there would have to be approved by United Bank. On Monday, Vandegrift said he'd learned that the slope of the hill there (206 N. Gratz St.) would require a retaining wall and backfill and make the project more expensive for R.J. Corman. The company has asked the state if there was any more grant money available, but won't find out until mid-summer. Vandegrift said he believed the city's Walter Bradley Jr. Memorial Park could serve as a good Plan B for the engine. Council member Dan Roller said it could serve as a perfect backdrop for a proposed stage there, and council member Sara Hicks said she could see a mini-railroad museum at the park "becoming something really nice." Vandegrift said he'd visit the park with R.J. Corman officials this week to review possible sites for the engine. "We don't want to lose this to another city ." Vandegrift said. EM director praised Woodford Emergency Management (EM) Director Drew Chandler gave the council his bi-annual department report, noting it would likely come in 30 percent under its $127,251.16 budget for fiscal 2016. Chandler detailed the various projects his department was engaged in, among them a recent survey of the county's outdoor warning sirens that showed many were still functional, but past their advertised useful life. Chandler said he was pursuing grant opportunities to help pay for new sirens, one of which could land in a different location than its current Midway Station site to better address planned development there. Vandegrift praised the work of Chandler, who took over last summer but wasn't named permanent director until several months later. "Drew, I think you've done a fantastic job and I want to say we still have a fantastic emergency management program and you've cut costs. We couldn't have asked for anything better ." Vandegrift said. EDA appointment Vandegrift's suggested appointment of Ron Layman, 39, to the Woodford County Economic Development Authority (EDA) was approved 5 to 0. (Council member Steven Craig was absent.) Layman will take the seat of Ed Crowley, who recently announced that he was moving his business, the Photizo Group, from Midway to Lexington. Roller said it would be good to have a Midway resident in the seat apportioned to the city of Midway. $100 for fire engine The city recently put two vehicles up for bid, one of which, an old fire engine, received a high bid of $100. Council member Libby Warfield suggested the city seek other opportunities to advertise the vehicle, to which Vandegrift and council member Bruce Southworth agreed. The council did vote unanimously to accept a bid of $260 for a 1984 Ford van that Vandegrift said was "in pretty bad shape." City Clerk Phyllis Hudson said they'd already had to clean it once because of mildew. Southworth got a round of laughter when he asked, "Is that too much?"

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