The Pineville City Council heard from David Jenkins, of Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, at Monday’s meeting during an update on the progress being made toward the Courthouse Square project.
“It looks like we’re finally about to get really close on it. We had a really good meeting in Louisville last week with Sandy Donahue, commissioner of the Department of Local Government, and we think we’re about ready to get the ball finally rolling on this,” Mayor Scott Madon said.
Main Street Pineville Executive Director Jacob Roan has been working hard getting all of the grant and loan applications ready for the project. He told the council work should start on the project early next summer.
“We’ve stood at the gala the last three years and told everyone that they can expect to see ground breaking in downtown that coming year. One, the opening of Wildlife Cener was pushed back a little bit and the state didn’t see it as urgent as they first did,” Roan explained. “It will still be finished before the opening of the Wildlife Center in the spring of 2021.
“We now think that the start date on this project will be early next summer — June 1st, right after the festival.”
He said all of the grants and loan applications have been sent in to Frankfort.
Those include a $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), a $2.6 million loan at one-percent interest from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority with a $1 million forgiveness and an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant for close to $700,000.
“The ARC grant is what we spoke about at the last meeting and what we met with Commissioner Donahue about. We’re going to have to tweak that application just a little bit, but it was all good news from the state and we expect everything that we’ve asked for to be fully funded. That would leave us with somewhere in the ballpark of $1 to $1.5 million to finance.”
That’s where Jenkins comes in.
“He’s going to help us to finance that last part of the project that will completely change our downtown to make the business environment more friendly and more conducive for the influx of tourists that we are going to see in 2021,” Roan said in introducing Jenkins.
“We’ve been talking several times about when was it an appropriate time to come, and we thought just an introduction tonight would be enough for right now,” Jenkins said. “In the near future, we’ll be passing some resolutions and things of that nature once you get a little more down the road. As you all know this process takes quite a while when you get into it. When you are ready to roll we want to be ready to roll.”
He explained that Ross-Sinclaire handles the League of Cities bonding pool.
“We have a long relationship with the Kentucky League of Cities. We’ll be working with them through your all’s project so everything is cohesive and everybody knows what everybody is doing,” he said.
Madon said the bonding for the project is very similar to what the city did in the 1990s when they helped finance the golf course and the city’s restaurant tax money will be used to repay the bonds.
“The city has to have matching funds to get some of those grants and some of the things we’re doing in the project are things that the grants won’t cover. We’ve not nailed all of that stuff down, but we’re getting real close,” he said. “One thing we put in at the last minute was adding Wi-Fi hotspots all over town and speakers attached to some of the light poles.
“We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty with what we’re doing and who is paying for what. I feel pretty comfortable that the June 1st (2020) date is a good date right now to say the project will be starting. David has helped us a lot in getting that stuff together. The reason why we’re bonding is Ross, Sinclaire has better rates than any bank around.”
Jenkins said his firm was partners with the city and would be there to help every step of the way.
Madon added that current plans for the project include adding up to 90 parking spots around the square.
“One of the biggest things with this project is that we’re trying to create as many parking spaces downtown as we can. We’re going to be very creative with what we do around the square,” he said.” We originally thought we were going to pick up 40 or 50 (parking spaces) now we’re thinking we’re going to push 80 to 90 because we’re going to do something on the soft side in the grassy area (along Pine Street). We had pretty much give up that idea, but the county wants us to do it so we’ve added that in to the project. 80 or 90 spots downtown will be huge for us. It’s a good problem to have but it’s a serious problem. Our downtown has advanced so much that there is just not any parking.”
The council also approved appointments to the Pineville/Bell County Urban Renewal and Community Development Agency Board: Rosemary Combs for a two-year term ending in 2021, Shirley Rhodman for a three-year term ending in 2022 and Jimbo Helton for a four-year term ending in 2023.
Also, a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser that was being used by the Fire Department was declared as surplus property. Madon said the Police Department will be getting two new black cruisers and will be giving one of the white Ford Explorers to the Fire Department.