By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Sept. 25, 2013 —
During last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Olive Hill Community Development Coordinator Joey Back gave an update on the progress of two pivotal grants tied to the Trail Town project.
The first grant is a $25,000 award from the Federal Recreational Trails Program for the construction of a restroom facility adjacent to the historic downtown depot in Olive Hill.
This grant is administered by the Kentucky Department for Local Government (DLG) in Frankfort.
Funds from this grant were also originally intended to be used in construction of a one mile stretch of trail from the depot to Hydreco Village.
According to Back, the cost of the project has increased beyond initial projections during the two-year period that elapsed between the grant’s original submission and its final approval.
“One of the biggest hurdles is that the city will be required to pay a prevailing wage to construction workers who work on the project,” said Back.
“Recently I got an informal rough estimate of nearly $32,000 from a contractor to do the work, and that doesn’t even take prevailing wage into consideration,” he added.
The grant also stipulates at $25,000 matching in-kind contribution by the city, which could be satisfied by labor and other services, as well an in perpetuity agreement by the city to provide cleaning and maintenance for the restrooms and trail area.
“I’m not sure we can justify the cost of adding on extra employee duties during a time when we’re looking at the choice of either a payroll tax or slashing our budget by $60,000 just to break even,” said Council Member Glenn Meade.
Darren Sammons, counsel for Kentucky’s Department for Local Government indicated that the city could use existing staff to fulfill the cleaning and maintenance requirements.
“It’s really up to the city government how they allocate their resources. As far as the grant agreement goes, it doesn’t stipulate that a new position has to be created,” said Sammons.
The status of second grant for $12,500 intended for construction of a footbridge extending across Tygart’s Creek from the Senior Community Center is also uncertain because of land agreement issues.
Construction of the bridge requires the city to obtain a permanent easement from the owner of the property opposite the Senior Community Center.
To date, the city has been unable to reach an agreement with the landowner for the placement of such an easement.
The outcome of the these two grants could play a significant role as Olive Hill continues to move forward with its push to be designated as an official Kentucky Trail Town.
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.