By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
If you use Gearhart Street to cut between Railroad Street and US 60 in Olive Hill, you might not be doing so much longer. City Council voted last Tuesday to grant the mayor authority to permanently close the street, which includes a pair of homes as well as the First Baptist Church and an adjacent property, which once served as the Oney-Henderson Funeral Home.
This was just one of the many big decisions reached at council’s regular November meeting. Council also voted unanimously to offer the old Olive Hill Airport property for sale. That property, located on Ben’s Run Road, has not been used as an active airstrip for more than a decade.
Council also considered an offer to purchase a piece of property along Jessica Lane. That property, which includes the old Stamper Trucking business and buildings, is located on nine acres of property that are zoned general business.
Mayor Jerry Callihan noted that the location, which includes living quarters, would be an ideal spot for the fire department to relocate to, offering access along Jessica Lane to both Route 2 and US 60. Access could also be extended out to Mason’s Circle on the backside of the property.
This consideration comes after the city spent $110,000 on another property, near the city park and police department, for the construction of a new fire department building. That location was hotly contested by residents who lived in the area around the park, however.
Callihan asked council to consider a proposal to burn that property, noting that in addition to providing a training opportunity for the fire department, it would save the city money on demolition costs. Instead of building a new fire department there, Callihan said, the land would be added to the city park property.
The measure passed with councilpersons Shannon Shutte, Eric Rayburn, and Justin Dixon voting aye, and councilmen Wayne Russell and Kirk Wilburn abstaining from the vote. Councilman Chris Bledsoe was not present.
In other action council moved to approve a payment to Trane on the water plant project, with Rayburn and Wilburn voting no and Russell, Shutte, and Dixon voting aye.
Council also heard updates on Trail Town’s lake trail project, the FIVCO grant plan for smoking and repairing sewage lines, and a proposal from Olive Hill Center for Arts & Education to install solar power cells and explore opportunities for net metering.
In most instances, the CFAE explained, the power meter would simply slow as solar fed the electricity in the buildings instead of power lines. In instances of low use and high sunshine, they explained, any surplus could be added back to the grid and would create a credit on the utility account – not a payment back to the center.
While the city said they weren’t sure if their agreement with AEP would allow such net metering, the solar representative speaking for the CFAE said AEP and Kentucky Power were bound by federal regulations, such as the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, which required them to offer such a credit among other actions aimed at energy conservation.
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