Midway council: East Stephens Street to also be ‘William Christy Way’
The Midway City Council voted unanimously Monday to add a new name to a three-block portion of East Stephens Street to honor the late William Christy, a Midway resident and Black educator who was principal of the old Simmons School. A total of seven signs saying “William Christy Way” will be added to existing sign poles, with the cost expected to be between $500 and $750, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said after the meeting. William Christy Way will stretch from Winter Street to Smith Street. The motion was introduced by Councilmember John Holloway, who said the honorary designation will not affect any mailing addresses. Holloway said Christy, who was inducted into the Woodford County Public Schools Hall of Fame in 2013, was a “mentor to so many,” and still had several family members living in the area. Vandegrift said with only one Black-owned business in Midway, the council also needs to continue focusing on pocketbook issues, and that property taxes and sewer rates could be further cut. Councilmember Logan Nance said he appreciated Holloway’s efforts, but wondered if there was another way to honor Christy. Councilmember Bruce Southworth said he’d been asked by a constituent how Christy was selected. Holloway said he’d spoken to Milan Bush and others and no one opposed the selection of Christy, and that he didn’t want to pick a living person. Councilmember Stacy Thurman said she appreciated Holloway’s passion, but wondered whether the council was rushing into naming a street. Councilmember Kaye Nita Gallagher asked if the council could hold off while asking more Midway residents for input. Councilmember Sara Hicks praised Holloway and called the honorary street naming a great start. Holloway said a street sign won’t change the world, but it’s a step in that direction. Nance said he believed the council needed to create a policy for such things going forward and ask citizens for nominees. Budget update Vandegrift said a review of the city’s fiscal 2021 budget (which began July 1) showed payroll taxes were 23 percent ahead of projections. Holloway asked if construction workers at Midway Station pay occupational taxes. Vandegrift said yes. Vandegrift said orders at Lakeshore Learning Materials are up 300 percent, and the 100 new employees who’ll begin working there in March will add to the city’s coffers. The ’21 budget forecasted an 11 percent drop in payroll taxes, Vandegrift said. Green burials The meeting began with two requests from the Board of Directors of Midway Renaissance, which was represented by Vice President Marcie Christenson. The first was that the council appoint a task force to study the feasibility of dedicating a portion of Midway Cemetery for green burials. According to funerals.org, in green burials, “The body is neither cremated nor prepared with chemicals such as embalming fluids. It is simply placed in a biodegradable coffin or shroud and interred without a concrete burial vault.” Vandegrift said the council’s Cemetery and City Property Committee, which is chaired by Hicks, can take up the matter. Christenson also asked Vandegrift to issue a proclamation next October declaring the second Monday of that month “Indigenous Peoples Day.” Vandegrift said he’d do that.