With the unveiling of the new Millstone Park and a Millstone Festival planned for the future, Richmond city officials are working towards creating a Mill District in outlined downtown areas.
According to City Manager Rob Minerich, the areas to be included in the proposed Mill District are Second St. going down to the railroad tracks, coming back down Orange St. and including Water St.
He added that as of Tuesday's meeting, the outlined area is preliminary and can be tweaked.
Minerich said the proposed Mill District included two sites where mills were located in the city and allowed Richmond to look at downtown revitalization within those boundaries.
“This is another step with the idea of Millstone Park, the festival and now a district solidifies the whole idea,” Minerich told the commissioners.
The original concept which has snowballed the city of Richmond’s new downtown identity was created by resident Speedy Denny when he had the idea to create Millstone Park, a green space on Main Street with over 30 millstones to display the county’s mill industry history.
After the park’s unveiling in October 2019, Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe and Denny announced at the Christmas Parade the city’s piloting of the Millstone Festival to be held annually in October.
“Isn’t it amazing how one person’s vision and generosity has ignited this,” Commissioner Jason Morgan said.
He and several other commissioners had ideas to further the millstone theme including historical signage of mill history in the city, murals, millstones painted in front of businesses and even commemorative posters for each year’s festival to be done by students.
Tyler Johnson, the city’s communication and community development coordinator, also spoke during the presentation about business incentives Richmond would potentially offer for businesses to remain, or settle in the said Mill District.
He explained the proposed incentives list included three levels: A business looking to relocate in the district, a new property owner planning to start or lease a new business or an existing business longer than 12 months. Within each three levels there are three incentives a property owner could receive.
Some incentives include grants to help interior and exteriors of the property through grants, equipment upgrades, a five-year tax moratorium, discounted internet or free water and sewer at a maximum of $250 to name a few.
Richmond Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Mendi Goble was present for the meeting and she loved the proposed incentive idea.
“That is going to be exciting for a lot of people to be able to do some of the things they have wanted to do for a long time,” she said.
She said for her personally, she would love to see improvements to be done in the area that would include uniform awnings which could add outdoor seating for restaurants and appear “more inviting.”
The commission hopes to take suggestions regarding incentives throughout the next few months to be able to earmark an amount to be included in next year’s fiscal budget.
The group hopes to move forward with declaring the Mill District over the course of the next few meetings.
• Alice Jones with Eastern Kentucky University spoke about doing more planning for bike trails in the city of Richmond with ideas to plug and expand additional biking corridors in the city to accommodate for students in an upcoming Core Corridor Plan.
• The commission voted to accept the resignation of Jessica Masters, the director of Human Resources, as tendered to the city manager with the resignation being held effective Friday, Jan. 24 at the close of business.
The next Richmond City Commission meeting will be held Jan. 28, 6 p.m., inside Richmond City Hall located at 239 W. Main St. in Richmond.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.