PRESTONSBURG – The Prestonsburg City Council held an old fashioned town hall meeting on Monday. Citizens were encouraged to come to the Mountain Arts Center to hear about current and upcoming projects, budget concerns, and express any concerns or issues they may have. Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton welcomed those gathered and called the meeting to order.
Mayor Stapleton recognized the Mitzi Mynhier’s sixth grade class of Adams Middle School for their Paws for Cause project. The class has decided to support the county animal shelter by supplying many of the shelter’s needs such as food, treats, and toys for the animals. The county has agreed to support the class in its effort to show hospitality and concern for the animals.
The council was proud to report every department in the city came within the 3% variance on their budget. The Prestonsburg City Police came in 21% under budget, while still purchasing two new police vehicles. The finance and revenue coming into the city is up with currently 3 businesses considering the option of moving to Prestonsburg. The city council also was able to pay over $400,000 on loans owed by the city in one years’ time.
Mayor Stapleton discussed the importance of tourism for Floyd County. The city continues to come up with activities to interest the citizens of Floyd County and drive revenue into the city. The New Year’s Eve Event, Rising of the Star was a success thanks to Utilities worker, Miranda Hicks who put the event together. Over 300 people were in the crowd with maybe 200 more lined up in cars to watch the festivities and fireworks.
Peddle Fest will continue as Floyd County partners with Paintsville to promote the river trails. Beginning the fourth Saturday in May, individuals will be allowed to peddle from behind Billy Ray’s Restaurant down to a dock at Combs Airport, and for the true adventurer, on down to Paintsville Lake.
“We are in the process of becoming a Certified Trail Town. Outdoor Tourism is important to the City of Prestonsburg. We have contacted CSX and requested to take over the 11.2 mile of railroad that starts in Prestonsburg and ends in David. CSX will remove the track and take up much of the gravel. The county will have several years to blacktop the trail and it must be patrolled by local law enforcement and kept clean. This is a huge opportunity for the City of Prestonsburg and the community of David,” said Stapleton. “Adventure Tourism is where we need to be.”
The city council also stated their intentions of restoring the West Prestonsburg Bridge for pedestrian use only.
The Rainer Racing Museum has been moved to the Mountain Arts Center. Students from the Carl D. Perkins Job Corp Center will begin to construct the trophy case this week. The Rainers have agreed to donate the winning car of the 1984 Daytona 500 to be on display at the MAC.
The council also discussed several grants the city has received. $55,000 for the mitigation for design and engineering at Trimble Branch. $1 million for the Mays Branch Project. The city is also in discussion with Kentucky Wired to become a gigabyte community. $68,000 grant was received for the design and planning of this project.
The meeting concluded with the opportunity for citizens to speak. Calvin Owen of the Prestonsburg VFW invited council members to the April 2 groundbreaking of a 6000 square feet emergency housing center to assist homeless Veterans and their families.
City Councilman Tim Cooley reported the city’s level for fire insurance. The City of Prestonsburg is currently a level 4 and is close to becoming a level 2. The city is working on a training tower that will be available to all county fire departments. The reduction to level 2 will result in approximately 20 percent decrease in homeowners insurance premiums.
The council encourages the citizens of the City of Prestonsburg to come to meetings and get involved in their community.
“Everyone is finally working together for a common goal, the betterment of Prestonsburg. We encourage suggestions and ideas from the citizens of Prestonsburg. ” said Councilman Freddie Goble.
Prestonsburg City Council is scheduled to meet again March 21 at 6 p.m. at Prestonsburg City Hall.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for the Floyd County Times. She can be reached at 606-794-0290.