Mayor suggests using sidewalk money for fire station

July 28, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Mayor John W.D. Bowling asked commissioners Monday to use $99,000 grant match intended for sidewalks downtown to help pay for a new fire station on the bypass.

No decision was made, but Commissioner Terry Crowley called it "a terrible idea."

The fire station "has run over budget," Crowley said. "I don't think for very good reasons."

The city had budgeted 20 percent of the total cost of the sidewalk project, $99,000. The other 80 percent, $400,000, would be covered by the grant, if it was awarded to the city.

"We would lose $400,000," Crowley said. "I think this is a terrible decision."

Crowley said the grant would be a three to one match of taxpayers money.

"I frankly think the firehouse is much more important than concrete and trash cans," Bowling said.

Heart of Danville's Julie Wagner wrote the grant to replace the sidewalks on the east end of Main Street, in front of Burke's Bakery and Ss. Peter and Paul Church, and to replace the sidewalks that will be destroyed during construction of a parking garage on Third Street.


The decision on who will be awarded the grants will be announced by late summer.

Wagner said the city would have to replace the sidewalks on Third Street whether it is awarded the grant or not because heavy construction equipment used to build the parking garage would tear up the sidewalks. She said that part of the sidewalks would have to be taken out when Third Street is widened for the garage.

Bowling suggested that the city borrow the money to replace the sidewalks, so the fire station construction could begin. "If you're willing to float bonds on the streetscape why not float bonds on the fire station," Crowley said. "At some point we'll have to pay" for the sidewalks, said Commissioner Jamey Gay. "I don't want to give up until we are denied."

Wagner told commissioners that they already put off the sidewalk project a year because of budget constraints, and reminded them that the city had promised Second Street business owners that the sidewalks would be improved.

Sidewalks on the East end of Main Street were replaced with a previous grant.

Wagner said she felt confident that the city would receive the grant this year. "We're basically saying that we are going to throw away $400,000," Gay said.

"I'm not in concrete on it," Bowling said.

Earlier Bowling questioned whether the city would even get the grant. "From everything I've heard in Frankfort grant money is tough," he said. "I'd have to tie up $100,000 for a year."

Central Kentucky News Articles