Council approves Freeny zone change
The Midway City Council voted 5 to 1 Monday to rezone 137 acres of property owned by the Homer Michael Freeny Jr. Trust from agricultural to industrial. The land is adjacent to Midway Station, and the move clears the way for Lakeshore Learning Materials to build a $27 million, 500,000 square foot building there that will eventually employ 100 people. Council Member Logan Nance voted no. He said he’d voted against the city’s annexation of the Freeny land and wanted to be consistent. “I support infill development. I support development in Midway Station. During (last year’s) campaign, I was very clear that I did not support industrial development outside of Midway Station. I still feel that same way. Maybe it’s just the millennial in me, but I love the environment and I love our beautiful farmland and I don’t want to see it go away,” Nance said. Council Member Stacy Thurman said she was still concerned about the city having access through the land to Elkhorn Creek, as had been promised. “I don’t really want that to get lost. I would like for us to start working on an agreement for that …” she said. Vandegrift and John Soper, chair of the Woodford Economic Development Authority, said they believed the agreement would happen. Vandegrift said Freeny had kept every promise he’d made, including helping the city obtain a needed easement. Vandegrift said he supported the rezoning because while Midway is a “preservationist” town, “I believe the best way to truly preserve precious farmland is to develop wisely, and this is a wise development, (it’s) in the Comp Plan, and it will help create even more job growth between two industrial users …” The council voted unanimously to approve another Lakeshore-related ordinance that gives the company a five-year abatement on net profit taxes for its second distribution center after meeting hiring goals. Metronet The council unanimously approved a 10-year franchise agreement with Metronet that will allow the company to deliver high-speed, fiber optic internet and cable television service. Nance cautioned that there will be construction involved. Traffic problems Todd Graddy spoke during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting about traffic problems on Stephens Street. She said shift changes at The Homeplace at Midway and truck traffic in and out of Midway University made that stretch of Stephens Street a dangerous place to walk, bicycle or drive. Vandegrift said striped double yellow lines will be painted on Stephens Street to the city limits in the next week or two and that bulb-outs and speed tables (slight inclines on roads) could be added in the future. A sidewalk there could be part of next year’s budget, he said. Thurman said the council should develop a plan soon, and that it was easy to say, “We’ll get to it.” Council Member John Holloway said turning from Stephens Street onto Winter Street could be a “death-defying” experience. At the end of the meeting, Holloway said rumble strips could be a good way to prevent people from speeding, and Vandegrift agreed that they might be a better choice than speed tables. Trick or Treat The council voted unanimously to set Trick or Treat for Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. Holloway asked if that was a Thursday, and wondered whether it might be a good idea to move it to the following day. “People get more angry about messing with Halloween than they get about traffic,” Vandegrift said to laughter. Snow removal The council voted unanimously to extend its contract with Wright Farm Services for snow removal for an additional two years.