• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Council discusses sidewalks

The Midway City Council Monday spent much of a 45-minute meeting discussing how to improve the city's rules for repairing sidewalks, which Mayor Grayson Vandegrift called "draconian." The conversation began during the committee reports portion of the agenda, with sidewalk committee Chairman Bruce Southworth suggesting a council work session on the issue might be in order. "We've beat it to death for what, two meetings? Back and forth, ping-ponged it ." Southworth said of his committee's work on the issue. "One thing I'll say about it is that I think the current policy is . draconian. ." Vandegrift said. Vandegrift said the present ordinance became law in 1990 but, as far as he knows, was never enforced. It allows the city to notify owners of property with sidewalks in disrepair that they must be fixed, and fine them $10 a day until they're repaired. "But if you can't afford to pay for sidewalk repairs, how are you going to afford a $10 a day fine? It's absurd," Vandegrift said. "That's why it's never been enforced." Vandegrift said the city had a policy in the past allowing it to pay for half of the property owner's sidewalk repair bills up to $500. He said the city could adopt the policy again with a sunset clause ensuring the work is done by a certain date. Council member Dan Roller said the city should not pay the bills of people who can afford the repairs or fix only part of the problem. "Maybe . we could ask for some kind of written agreement that they would attempt to make the rest of their area safe as well," council member Libby Warfield said. Roller said people who won't repair their entire sidewalk shouldn't be given any city money. Vandegrift suggested the council consider appropriating $25,000 for next fiscal year for sidewalk repairs and seek matching state grants to make the money go further. "We've got some major sidewalk issues around town that we have to fix. Someone's going to get hurt. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," Vandegrift said. "Why don't we just repair them and just put in so much a year and have the city fix it and be done with it," Southworth suggested. Warfield said she agreed. After several more minutes of discussion, Vandegrift suggested council members study the matter until the April 18 meeting, at which city attorney Phil Moloney will again be present. Earth Day clean-up Juanita White of Bluegrass Greensource asked the council for $250 to pay for garbage bags, gloves and t-shirts for volunteers who'll pick up litter in downtown Midway on Earth Day, April 22, from noon to 4 p.m. Ashley Bryant Cheney of the group said last year, volunteers gathered about two dozen bags of garbage weighing an average of 15 pounds apiece in the Town Branch and Weisenberger Mill Road areas. "We try to focus on a certain day to get people out and aware, but any way that we can help to pick up litter around the area, especially around the different waterways, is really important to us," Cheney said. The council unanimously approved the group's request. Sparks in the Park After a presentation by Versailles's 4th of July Festival organizer Mike Coleman about his city's plans, Vandegrift announced that Midway's Sparks in the Park will be held Friday, July 2. (Versailles's day-long festival will be Monday, July 4.)

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