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March 20, 2013

New street signs, safer walking areas around town

berea

BEREA —

Residents of Berea may notice a few new city limit signs strategically placed around town to help the street department employees know where they need to be maintaining road sides, Paul Schrader, new head of the city street department, told the city council Tuesday.

The city limits can be confusing in some places, Schrader said. On Old US 25 North, Vineyard Estates is within city limits, but across the road the neighborhood on Misti Drive is not. And while traveling KY 21 east of town, you will leave and re-enter city limits five or six times, he said.

“Big Hill Road (KY 21) is very confusing,” Schrader said, “and if we put a road sign everywhere you exited and everywhere you entered back in, we’d probably have 100 signs.”

However, the fire department will respond regardless of where city limit falls, and the police department has an understanding that if there is anything life threatening, they will respond, Schrader said.

Also during its Tuesday night meeting, the city council recognized Berea’s Pedestrian Safety Task Force and its efforts to make the city’s streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Funded by a grant from FedEx, through Safe Kids USA, the task force looked at areas in need of infrastructure improvement, task force member Hilary Dolstad told the council. The group has mapped every Berea intersection crosswalk with a signal and worked with city government to improve the crosswalks, he said.

The task force also has constructed a multimodal path across the parking lot at Berea Community School. The path has decreased the crossing distance across the parking lot entrance, Dolstad said.

Seven high-visibility crosswalks have been installed on school routes; 12 countdown-crossing signals were installed with crossing times adjusted; and ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant modifications were made at three locations, which include ramp mats, connection crosswalks and sidewalks.

After council comments, near the meeting’s end, Mayor Steve Connelly asked for an executive session to “discuss the possibility of the acquisition of property, the price of which may be affected by public discussion.” Belle Jackson, Berea’s tourism director, also was requested to attend.

The next joint meeting of Madison County’s three local governing bodies has been set for April 18, and council member Ronnie Terrill said he would like to include “the airport situation” on the agenda.

Because Judge/Executive Kent Clark is attempting to block one of Berea’s appointments to the airport board, Terrill said he wants to discuss the issue unless it is resolved.

The council approved the second reading of ordinance to refinance at a lower interest rate a bond issue sold for the city to purchase Berea College Utilities.

Even with the bond market in a “fragile state,” refinancing the bond at its current principal amount of nearly $9.7 million, the new issue is expected to save the city about $600,000, said Chris Bowling of Civic Finance Advisors.

“It sounds like we need to move very quick with the volatilities, so I would move adoption of the ordinance 03-013 today,” Burnside said.

 Moody’s Investors Service rating for the city’s utilities bonds remain at A1, which is still very good. but Bowling said he was hoping for an upgrade to an AA3. The municipal utility is too small for a higher rating, he said.

In other business, the council:

• Adopted a resolution accepting a $303,000 grant from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for the redesign of the Berea Bypass project.

• Approved removal of a parking spot in front of the Berea Center for the Arts, 315 Chestnut St., to improve visibility for those exiting the building’s side parking lot.

• Adopted a resolution  to reflect the name change of Stemco Motor Wheel Company to Motor Wheel Commercial Vehicles Systems Inc. This is the fourth name change for the company, the second change in the past two weeks.

• Accepted a state grant for the Terrill Branch water project. The project looks to extend wastewater services for homes along Terrill Branch, which will eliminate more than 20 septic systems and reduce contamination.

• Accepted a bid from Terex Equipment for the purchase of a digger derrick truck for the utility department. The original bid of $182,841 included the truck and chassis without accessories, but through negotiations the city was able to get the truck, chassis and all the accessories for a bid of $197,000.

• Received two bids for the purchase of centrifugal trash pump for the utilities department; one from Action Rental Center of Mt. Vernon Road, Berea, for $17,885 and the other from Wilson Equipment Company of Lexington for $14,619.

• Adopted the 2013 strategic plan.

Upcoming events

On Saturday, the city will work in conjunction with a group from Berea College to clean up Brushy Fork. Everyone that wants to help is welcome; they will begin clean up at six in the morning, City Administrator Randy Stone said.

Chief David Gregory announced April 13 as the date of the police department's annual 10K race for Special Olympics, which also is the final leg in the Berea Championship series of five races. Afterwards they will be awarding prizes for the three top finishers in the entire series.

A joint meeting has been set for March 28 between city council and the Berea tourism board to discuss the vital statistics for the tourism commission. The meeting will be held in the community room at the Berea Municipal Building at 5:30 p.m.

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