The Pineville City Council has approved a resolution and the first reading of an ordinance that will get all the financing in place for the upcoming Courthouse Square project.
“I know we’ve talked about this for five years but it looks like we’re finally getting ready to do it,” Mayor Scott Madon said.
The resolution approves an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the Kentucky Bond Corporation regarding the financing for the project. The ordinance approves the financing/lease agreement with the Kentucky Bond Corporation for the project.
“We had hired Ross-Sinclair out of Lexington to handle our bond issue back in September and now we’ve approved them to go ahead and proceed with selling the bonds,” Madon said. “We wanted to wait for all of the other grants to be approved and they have been. The last thing we’re waiting on is the environmental study and we think we’ve got that completed. We’re still on the projected date of June 1 to start the project.”
In all, the project will cost between $5.5 and $6 million. It’s being funded from multiple sources, including a $2.6 million low-interest loan from the KIA (Kentucky Infrastructure Authority). $1.3 million of that loan will be forgiven. Another $1 million will come from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and $962,000 is coming from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The city will borrow $1.5 million through the sell of bonds to cover their matching portions of the grants and to cover the costs for beautification around the square, which were not eligible to be paid from the other funds.
“That will be paid back through our restaurant tax. Those grants and the low-interest loan won’t pay for new benches, new lights, building the arch at the entrance to town at Pine Street,” Madon said. “We can get grants for sidewalks and water and sewer lines and that kind of stuff, but there’s not a whole lot out there for what I call the ‘foo-foo’ ‘things that we’re wanting to do.”
In addition to separating all of the water and sewer lines around the square, the project will include burying all of the utility lines and putting in new sidewalks. It’s also going to double the number of parking spaces around the square by taking about nine feet of the courthouse lawn all the way around to allow for diagonal parking on both sides of the street.
“It’s hard when you’re dealing with all of these different agencies. The CDBG was approved contingent on us getting the ARC money, so we had to make sure we were going to get that,” Madon explained. “It was just a matter of putting all of the pieces together. Plus we had the administration change and then COVID, it’s just been one thing after another but we’ve finally got it where it’s ready to go.”
He said there was some talk of trying to start the project early if the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival had to be cancelled this year. But with the project going to bid in March and then all the plans having to have final approval it’s probably going to be June 1 before anything gets started anyway.
He also said that possibility of having at least a partial festival was looking up.
“Our positivity rate is coming down so the Festival is looking better. We’ve talked about maybe having to do away with some things this year like Thursday night so we don’t have any big crowds. But if we can keep that positivity rate down and get out of the red we’re looking at having a half or two-thirds Festival,” Madon said. “We realize that the bands and some things like that probably won’t be able to participate in the parade so it will be abbreviated version, but it beats not having anything.”
The council also approved a resolution to rollover the 2017 LWCF grant application for Newtown Recreational Park to 2021.
“We got a grant for the Newtown park back in 2017, but the environmental study held us up. All we did was approve accepting it now and made it for 2021 because we finally got that study back,” Madon said. “The equipment is sitting in Somerset and everything is ready to go. They asked to start on it this month, but we asked them to wait until after the flood season. The last two years we’ve had water in that bottom.”