• By John McGary Woodford Sun Editor

Two distilleries eyeing Midway

The Midway City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday that will allow the city to back a community development block grant (CDBG) designed to help lure a Lexington distillery. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said Bluegrass Distillery was planning on buying land on the Mitchell property near the intersection of KY 341 and Leestown Road. He said sponsoring the CDBG would allow the state to make a low interest loan to the company, which would employ about 18 people. The city will not be on the hook for repayment of the company’s share of the loan, he said. “This is really a homerun,” said Councilmember Logan Nance. “We wanted a distillery, and this is a good one.” Vandegrift said the company’s presence would also be a plus for tourism in the area and that early in the pandemic, the city purchased hand sanitizer from the company. In another distillery-related development, Vandegrift said the James Pepper Distillery of Lexington wants to build a barrel warehouse on seven acres owned by the Homer Freeny Jr. Trust. Land “swap” In a related move, the council unanimously approved a plan to de-annnex 27 acres of the Freeny property in exchange for Freeny donating 16 acres along Elkhorn Creek. John Soper, the former EDA chair who now works for SVN, a real estate marketing firm, said the de-annexation will make it easier to sell land there because city utilities won’t be required. He said Lakeshore Learning Materials, which built a second distribution center in the area that employs 100, agreed to build a private pump station and saved Freeny, the developers and the EDA $440,000. The land will remain in the city’s urban service boundary, Vandegrift said. Access to Elkhorn Creek through the Freeny property has long been a goal of city leaders, both for its residents and tourists who will spend time and money in town before or after spending time on the creek. Councilmember Bruce Southworth said, “Getting 16 acres for nothing is a no-brainer.” The de-annexation/land swap was chosen over requesting an easement for access to the creek. Trick or treat expanded hours The council voted to 5 to 0 in favor of a motion by Councilmember Stacy Thurman to expand Trick or Treat hours to 4 to 8 p.m. this Halloween, which takes place on a Saturday. Councilmember John Holloway, who said he wouldn’t participate in the event this year because of age-related health concerns, abstained. Thurman said that many of the trick or treaters come from other areas, and allowing it to last four hours, rather than the standard two, would help prevent sidewalks from getting crowded. As for holding Trick or Treat itself, Vandegrift said he was concerned that if it was cancelled this year, people would do it anyway and less safely without city guidelines. “Kids could use a little bit of normal right now,” Nance said. Councilmember Sara Hicks asked if it would be possible to put out sanitation centers with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer in main areas of the city. Vandegrift said he’d talk to Woodford Public Health Director Cassie Prather about that and believed making hand sanitizer available was a great idea. Encroachment permits The council unanimously approved an encroachment permit for RD Holdings LLC that will allow the company to install a 22-foot-wide employee entrance and 24-foot-wide truck entrance at 725 Fisher Street and a 20-foot-wide truck entrance apron on McKinney Avenue. The company will store golf carts for sale there and employ 30 people, Vandegrift said. The council also unanimously approved an encroachment permit for Freeny that will allow him to remove 125 feet of curb at 711 McKinney Avenue in order to build a private asphalt driveway. Soper said the work will make room for semi tractor-trailers to get in and out of the property.

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