• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Court rejects railroad museum request

Woodford Fiscal Court Tuesday rejected a request by the Bluegrass Railroad Museum involving land at the county park on which museum officials hope to build a locomotive barn.

Magistrate Linda Popp (Dist. 1) made a motion to accept the deal that died for lack of a second.

Railroad officials wanted the court to release the county’s “right of reverter” clause on .89 acres at the county park, saying the move would help them get a better deal on a refinanced loan. In May, the amount owed on the current loan was $36,000, according to museum Director John Penfield.

The issue was first raised in the court’s April 10 meeting. Since then, Cassie Barnes, an attorney for the nonprofit museum, worked with County Attorney Alan George on an agreement with which both were comfortable.

The deal would have released the county’s right of reverter clause and, if the museum failed and refinanced loan wasn’t paid off, given the county right of first refusal on purchasing the land. Barnes told the court the depot building already there was worth $300,000 and the locomotive barn, if built, would be worth $600,000.

In May, Barnes and Museum Director John Penfield said the organization is a “profitable non-profit” with a proven financial record.

Penfield said last year, the volunteer-run museum made a profit.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Judge-Executive John Coyle said he found it hard to understand giving away property (the county deeded the museum land to the non-profit) and possibly having to buy it back.

Magistrate Linda Popp (Dist. 1) was the only member of the court besides Coyle who spoke. She said museum officials were doing a good job and the museum had healthy financials. That’s when she made the unsuccessful motion.

Road engineer change

Acknowledging the difficulty of hiring a road engineer who may only be on the job until the second Tuesday in January, the court voted 7 to 0 (Magistrate Duncan Gardiner, Dist. 6 was absent) to strike the residency requirement in the ordinance.

George said while the county was in good shape with its road and bridges, the court also has an agreement with the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission and Technical Review Committee to provide civil engineering advice. He said he believed the city of Versailles has a contract with engineering firm GRW to provide such services, and recommended the county consider that option.

George said some land use plans have been delayed for lack of a county engineer, and that the Planning Commission had a sense of urgency about the situation.

The county has been without a road engineer since June 21. George said the new judge-executive taking office in January can hire a new road engineer on a two- or four-year deal. Airbnb

George said he’d received a draft agreement from Airbnb, but there were a dozen “little discrepancies” in it. He said he emailed his company contact with a list of suggested changes, but hadn’t heard back yet. The deal would establish a system to allow the county to receive occupancy taxes on room rentals in private residences. Midway EMS station

Ambulance Director Freeman Bailey’s request to advertise for a new paramedic for the soon-to-be-established Midway EMS station was unanimously granted.


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