By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
Berea soon will become more of a hub for the county’s emergency response agencies, at least temporarily.
Michael Bryant, director of Madison County’s Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program, on Tuesday told the Berea City Council the county’s Emergency Operations Center in Richmond will be undergoing an expansion next year. Much of the center’s operation will be moved from its South Keeneland Drive, Richmond location, to Berea while the expansion takes place.
“We’re going to locate our offices down here,” Bryant said. “We’re going to have folks down here while they’re renovating the EOC.”
Employees of CSEPP and the county’s Emergency Management Agency are preparing for their annual, federally graded exercise, which will be in Berea this year for the first time.
“That’s why we have backup,” Bryant said. “If we have something that’s going to take out our EOC in the northern part of the county, we’re going to make it down here. We’re going to continue cross training our staff.”
The EOC expansion is part of the preparations for destruction of chemical weapons being stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
“When they start (demilitarization), we’re going to go 24/7,” Bryant said said of EMA and CSEPP operations.
In other business:
• The council heard first reading of an ordinance that would deem a city-owned 2006 Crown Victoria as surplus property. The vehicle, formerly used by the police department, has 97,252 miles and is “no longer suitable for use by the police department,” said City Administrator Randy Stone.
• The city, which recently asked its utilities customer to conserve water, is still not in the clear, according to Stone.
“We’re still three-and-a-half feet down at Owsley Fork (Reservoir),” he said. “It’s on the positive side, but we’re still down. Our situation is better, but it doesn’t keep us from making sure that our water supply in the city is in the forefront.
• The city continues to acquire right-of-way for work being done on Bratcher Lane that eventually will stretch from Scaffold Cane Road to Bryan Avenue. In December, the council adopted a resolution accepting a $1.05 million state grant for work on the road.
Improvement of Bratcher Lane has been in the works since 2003, according to Stone.
The project will include a two-lane road with sidewalk, curbs and gutters. “We have four or five more contacts to make (for rights-of-way),” Stone said.
• Four interviews soon will be conducted for the Berea Parks and Recreation Department director’s position.
• Stone announced that Berea police officer Kim Puckett was promoted to captain, Sgt. LeAnne Boyle was promoted to Road Lieutenant and the department has openings for a lieutenant and a sergeant.
The next meeting of the Berea City Council is s6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Berea Police and Municipal Building.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6608.