Council hears from SPARK students
The Versailles City Council spent much of a 25-minute meeting Tuesday hearing from some of the Woodford County High School seniors who put together the April 8 to 10 Spark Versailles festival. The second annual event featured local and outside vendors, musicians and food trucks. Rebekah Alvey said that, despite cold weather much of the weekend, the second edition of the event attracted 1,600 people to downtown Versailles - more than last year's inaugural festival. "We tried to show what we thought downtown Versailles could be like, and to stimulate the economy by bringing in all these businesses and showing them what a business could look like in Versailles, but also tried to spark the social life and bring in a more youthful perspective to the area," Alvey said. Alvey said the event raised about $1,000, well short of the Community Activism class's $2,500 goal to allow them to get a head start on next year's Spark Versailles. T-shirt sales for next year's event are ongoing and donations are being accepted. "There were many people who said they wouldn't even come downtown if not for the event, which we felt not only humbled by, but excited that we could give that opportunity to our community ." said Gloria McClain. Michaela Hood said all the vendors said they'd return next year, some of whom Community Activism teacher Kyle Fannin said turned down events in Lexington for Versailles. "It was cold in Lexington as well, obviously, and they knew that (in) Fayette County and Lexington, people would not come out in that kind of weather, but they saw people in this community supported these kids and supported this event, so they stayed and made money," Fannin said. Fannin also credited the work of city and county officials and the fire and police departments for the festival's success. Council member Ann Miller said she hoped next year, much of Spark Versailles could be held at the proposed downtown pavilion. Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said he'd learned that City Magazine's June/July issue will feature an article about Spark Versailles. Fire protection rates Traugott pinch-hit for Versailles Fire Chief Brian Wainscott, who was on a fire run during the meeting, to deliver some good news. "We got notice this week that our ISO (Insurance Service Office) rating was changing from a four to a two, which is the next best you can be," Traugott said. The ISO provides statistical information on risk - in this case, the rating has to do with the city's ability to prevent or extinguish fires. Traugott said the lower rating should have "at least a nominal" impact on insurance rates. Street name changes Council member Mary Bradley's streets and roads committee suggested two name changes for city streets: Park Place to Commerce Drive and Kuhlman Boulevard to Industry Drive. Backers say the latter will help keep trucks using GPS devices from winding up in Stonegate subdivision, which has a Kuhlman Drive and Kuhlman Court. City Attorney Bill Moore said he believed the council could adopt municipal orders for the name changes, rather than pass ordinances, which take longer. The votes on each were 5 to 0. (Council member Gary Jones was absent.) Fairness Ordinance update Before the meeting, the administrative and legal committee met to discuss a plan to revise the interlocal agreement (ILA) on the Human Rights Commission to allow that group to draft a county-wide "Fairness Ordinance." The Midway City Council adopted a gay and transgender rights measure in late 2014, but Woodford Fiscal Court has not discussed such an ordinance and indicated little interest in revising the ILA for the Human Rights Commission. Each body would have to act to amend the ILA. A first reading for the ordinance is scheduled for the May 17 council meeting. Resolutions The council voted 5 to 0 in favor of resolutions honoring Woodford County High School and the Woodford County Library. The school recently placed 8th in the Washington Post's "Most Challenging High Schools" ranking, while the library was one of nine libraries in Kentucky named an "Exemplary Library." Appointment The council unanimously backed Traugott's appointment of Angelica Munoz to the Woodford County Human Rights Commission for a term ending Dec. 31, 2018.