Midway to apply for Weisenberger bridge
MIDWAY - The city council Monday unanimously voted to proceed with a state application to acquire the historic Weisenberger Mill Bridge, which was closed July 1 after a safety inspection. The bridge would be placed somewhere in Walter Bradley Jr. Park. A state marketing brochure details several conditions for the transfer, among them the Transportation Cabinet's pledge to pay to relocate the bridge if that price doesn't exceed the cost of demolition. In return, the recipient must pay for the reconstruction of the bridge to its original state, allow public visitation, and fulfill other obligations. (The Sun ran an in-depth story on the matter Sept. 22.) Council member Sara Hicks said the Cemetery and Property Committee she chairs recommended that the full council apply for the bridge. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said he believed the application would be successful, in part because of the city's proximity to the 81-year-old, one-lane bridge. Council member Dan Roller suggested the council hold a public meeting that would include a discussion of where to put the bridge. Council member Libby Warfield said the council should consider a private fund to offset reconstruction and other expenses. The Transportation Cabinet set a Nov. 14 deadline for the applications, and is expected to announce a decision shortly thereafter. Providence Montessori The council unanimously passed an ordinance to allow the city to issue $1.8 million in Educational Facilities Refunding Revenue bonds to help pay for the refinancing of a private school in Lexington. At the council's Sept. 6 meeting, bond attorney Mark Franklin said four students from Midway or Woodford County attend Providence Montessori and several local residents work there. A city of Midway's size is allowed to issue up to $10 million annually of the tax-exempt bonds, which are purchased at a lower rate than the school could otherwise receive. A public hearing on the issue was held before Monday's council meeting, and there were no speakers. Lakeshore Learning Materials The council held a first reading of an ordinance authorizing the issuance of two series of Industrial Revenue Bonds for up to $50 million on behalf of Lakeshore Learning Materials. State law allows local governments to issue the bonds at a lower rate and give the company a property tax break to help finance construction costs. Bondholders use revenue from the projects to cover debt service. At the Sept. 6 council meeting, Franklin said the bonds would not be a liability for the city of Midway, which merely serves as a conduit in the process. A pilot program in the agreement exempts school taxes from the property tax break. Lakeshore Learning Materials recently announced plans to build a distribution center at Midway Station and hire 262 full-time employees. Trick or Treat After saying that choosing the city's date for Trick or Treat was one of the most controversial decisions a mayor can make, Vandegrift proposed holding it this year on Halloween, Monday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. The council unanimously approved the choice. Animal traps Roller said the Finance, Ordinance and Policy Committee he chairs met Monday morning and had a proposal to address a concern brought before the council last month: whether to ban lethal animal traps in city limits. At the council's Sept. 19 meeting, Sarah Gilbert and Stewart Surgener spoke about their cat, which was killed Aug. 9 after being caught in a lethal trap on a neighboring property. They asked the council to consider an ordinance that would ban such traps in city limits, but allow live traps. The committee's recommendation didn't go that far: "The removal or eviction of any animal from a property in the city of Midway shall not result in the harming or death of a domestic animal." A copy of the regulation would be given to people applying for business licenses in Midway that do such business. The council discussed the matter for more than 10 minutes, but took no action. Roller said Critter Control, the Lexington company that set the trap, didn't have a license to do business in Midway and that the city should proceed with penalties against them. Cemetery house Hicks said her committee recommended that the city declare the old caretaker's house at Midway Cemetery surplus material, which will allow the city to put it up for sale. Vandegrift said a resolution to that effect, which would include language asking the buyer to move the house, could be considered at the council's Oct. 17 meeting. Encroachment permit The council unanimously approved an encroachment permit for 212 Turner Street that will allow builder Doug Robinson to construct a driveway leading to a new house.