The Richmond Register

Local News

January 31, 2014

Connelly: Berea can still improve

BEREA — In his annual state of the city address, Berea Mayor Steve Connelly asked audience members to rate life in Berea on a scale of one to five, five being the best.

A majority of the voters rated their town as a five, but Connelly was not so assured.

“I would give Berea a four,” he said. “I think that, at a minimum, we can still improve.”

The mayor went on to list good things about the city, saying it was financially sound and offers many opportunities. Berea is limited only by the imaginations and audacity of its people, he said.

“Even though the past five years have been hard on many citizens, collectively, Berea has made the best of a bad time,” Connelly said. “It continues right to the top.”

However, Berea still faces many challenges. The city’s police department made 343 drug-related arrests in 2013. Of particular interest was the appearance of heroin in the community, Connelly said. In 2012 the BPD didn’t have any heroin-related cases, but it had nine in the last four months of 2013. Six more arrests involving the drug were made in January.

Methamphetamine arrests dropped by 8 percent in 2013, the mayor said. But part of that figure may involve cooks using smaller containers to transport the substance and avoid police detection.

To combat the new challenges, the BPD has created a street-crimes unit and added an additional officer for drug enforcement. It also is using social media to keep the public better informed, Connelly said.

The police were not the only department adapting to new city needs, however.

During the past year:

• The public works department implemented a vehicle-maintenance program to service all city vehicles.

• The finance department created a new system to track business licenses.

• The codes enforcement office increased its jurisdiction over building inspections expected to lead to faster project approvals.

• The city’s human resources department created a whistleblower policy for city employees.

• Finally, the city expanded its nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation and domestic partners.

To support tourism, Connelly said the city will support Bereans for Economic Development, the group seeking a referendum on alcohol sales in the historically dry town. When asked by Berea College professor Peter Hackbert how much revenue alcohol sales could generate for city government, Connelly said he estimates between $700,000 and $800,000 annually, which would go to the police department.

Hackbert voiced concern about how alcohol sales would change the city’s character. Connelly said he supported a discussion on the subject, but the first step in the process would be to establish whether there will be a vote.

“If a vote is approved, then there would be meetings with the Frankfort people to answer detailed questions about would there be bars, would there not be bars or what size and location,” he said. “There will also be an opportunity for the city to amend its zoning ordinances in terms of signs although I’m told our ordinance would not need much change.”

When at the beginning of the meeting Connelly asked audience members to rate how much of a benefit an alcohol referendum would be on the one-to-five scale, the votes were split between ones and fives.

Connelly attributed city government’s efficiency to the work of its employees as well as “the vision of its city council.”

In the future, Connelly said he would like to see the city focus on completing projects such as the Indian Fort shared-use path, developing an additional raw water source and upgrading the Louis Street power substation’s output.

The city this year will commission a preliminary design for a public safety building near City Hall that would house the police and fire departments, he said.

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-29 YMCA-Schools.jpg YMCA, county district to provide after-school care

    The Telford YMCA is partnering with the Madison County School District to provide after-school child care for kindergarten and elementary students.
    YMCA Executive Director Dave Wallace and Madison County School Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the partnership Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 Lucille May 1.jpg Memories bloom in May’s garden

    After realizing a story was being written about 96-year-old Lucille May, tenants of Willis Manor gathered in the lobby to share stories about her.
    Affectionately called “Mamaw” by other residents and workers at the apartment building, May has spent the four years of her residence transforming an outdoor garden that was overtaken by weeds. It’s now a thriving flowerbed, complete with interesting rocks, decorations and conversation.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Construction 1.jpg Water Street storm-water digging begins

    Caisson holes were drilled and then filled with concrete and steel poles Monday to create a retaining structure to shore up the Allstate Insurance building foundations' firm when excavation for the Water Street Stormwater Improvement Project begins.
    Digging for 20 ton, 6 by 7 foot concrete box culverts will begin today, if weather permits, said Jason Hart, Richmond’s director of Planning and Zoning. The culverts will help reduce the likelihood of flooding on Water Street by carrying storm water under Main Street, the CVS parking lot and Irvine Street to a stream, he said.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Robert Abney.jpg RPD: Bottle bomb injures man, damages neighbor’s home

    Richmond Police on Friday charged Robert Abney, 30, of Moberly Avenue, in connection with a May 30 explosion that injured Abney and damaged a neighbor’s home.
    Officers were dispatched May 30 to a residence in the 500 block of Moberly Avenue to investigate the report of an explosion.
    They found the remains of a plastic bottle bomb near a residence adjoining Moberly’s, according to an RPD news release. A wall of the occupied home was smoldering and grass was burned in the area, it added.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Steven Coffey.jpg Two led police on I-75 chase from Berea

    Berea Police found a man passed out and intoxicated inside his crashed vehicle on Interstate 75 Wednesday, according to a police report.
    Steven Coffey, 34, of Berea, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet when officers arrived at the vehicle, the police report stated. They determined he was under the influence of drugs, the report stated.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-27 HeartChase 1.jpg A race to the finish line

    Sheltered by overcast sky and supported by a cool breeze, teams competed Saturday morning in the second annual HeartChase at Richmond Centre.

    July 26, 2014 6 Photos

  • 7-27 Hops 1.jpg Hops & Vine Festival raises money for humane society

    Downtown Richmond’s Hops and Vine Festival started more than two years ago with a question.

    July 26, 2014 3 Photos

  • Bill Clinton will stump for Grimes in eastern Kentucky

    Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    Former President Bill Clinton will join Grimes on Aug. 6 for a campaign rally in eastern Kentucky, according to a campaign official who would provide no further details.

    July 26, 2014

  • 7-26 Stockyards 2.jpg Cattle farmers enjoying ‛perfect storm’

    Demand is up, and cattle are selling for record prices.

    At the same time, corn prices are down and fuel prices have stabilized.

    That adds up to a “perfect storm” for Kentucky cattle farmers, said Gary Kelly of Paint Lick as he ate lunch Friday with his brother Jimmy at the restaurant across from the Blue Grass Stockyards.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-26 Fire Practice Structure 1.jpg Fire training tower going up

    A new training tower for the Richmond Fire Department is rising on Four Mile Road.

    Construction began Thursday on the four-story, steel-framed structure.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

Yes
No
     View Results