• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Revenue will allow Midway to improve roads, sidewalks

MIDWAY MAYOR Grayson Vandegrift told Woodford County Board of Education members on May 24 that additional occupational tax revenue will allow city leaders to focus on making improvements to Midway's infrastructure, particularly its sidewalks and roadways. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

One of the factors in American Howa Kentucky's decision to locate its new manufacturing facility in Midway Station was the great school system here, Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift told members of the Woodford County Board of Education last month. He said other potential industrial employers are also interested in coming to communities with great school systems. During his update to the school board on May 24, Vandegrift said the City of Midway's budget for next fiscal year includes a projected 31 percent increase in occupational tax revenue. The additional tax revenue was generated in large measure by The Homeplace at Midway - a skilled nursing and assisted living community - and commercial businesses (a Subway, McDonald's and Shell gas station) at the I-64 interchange north of Midway. With this additional occupational tax revenue, city leaders can now focus on making improvements to Midway's infrastructure, particularly its sidewalks and roadways, Vandegrift said. Northside Drive, which hasn't been completely repaved since being constructed to serve Northside Elementary School and a neighboring subdivision more than 20 years ago, will be one of the public roadways in Midway to be repaved this summer, according to Vandegrift. After American Howa opens in October or November, the manufacturing facility will eventually employ over 100 people. Those jobs will pay an average of $22 an hour "so they're well-paying jobs," he said. "And it fits into what we're trying to do there (at Midway Station) with long-term, sustainable growth." Because phones are "ringing off the hook with new prospective clients - both industrial and commercial - .I think we're going to be hearing some more good news sooner rather than later," added Vandegrift. Besides bringing in industrial and commercial users, developer Dennis Anderson plans to construct as many as 350 homes on the Midway Station property over the next 15 to 20 years, he said. "That's a pretty big increase in homes for Midway," said Vandegrift. "There's only about 600 homes (in Midway) right now so it needs to be a slow, sustainable build out." Vandegrift said a slow build out will allow the City of Midway to keep up with necessary infrastructure improvements and public service upgrades such as police and fire protection. A limit of no more than 50 new homes per year will give the school district time to ensure its school facilities are adequate for students, Vandegrift said. "You have to grow a little bit. Our goal is grow. And make it sustainable growth," said Vandegrift in response to a school board question. He also told board members that he appointed a citizens' advisory committee last fall to explore ways to improve Midway's Memorial Park. The public park's close proximity to Northside Elementary offers the potential for students to learn about invasive and native species and wildlife, Vandegrift said. "(So it can become) a central hub that will be able to connect downtown (Midway) to Northside," said Vandegrift. He said work also continues to bring "Old Smokey" - R.J. Corman's steam locomotive - to Midway. At the Board of Education's planning meeting on May 16, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott gave a report on his city to school board members. Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle has agreed give a report on county activities at one of the school board's meetings in June. School board Chair Ambrose Wilson IV invited the city and county leaders to provide Board of Education members with updates on local government activities. "We all have different responsibilities," said Wilson on May 16, "but we also have some shared responsibilities. One of which I believe is to enrich the quality of life for everybody in Woodford County."

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