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For Carrollton to be successful, the city must be cleaned up; projects in progress must be completed; city and county government must work together; and citizens must develop a sense of pride in the community. There also needs to be a clear, unified vision of what citizens want Carrollton to be, with a plan created and goals set accordingly to achieve it.
These are some of the suggestions given by the roughly 35 people who attended the Thursday, Feb. 28, Carrollton Listening Session held in the Carroll County Middle School cafeteria.
Bobbie Bryant and Tad Long from Kentucky League of Cities moderated the discussion. Mayor Gene McMurry kicked things off with a short introduction and a brief report on some of the accomplishments since last year’s public forum, including the completion of the 2 Rivers Campground, the opening of six new businesses downtown, the installation of free Wi-Fi in much of the city, the active public safety programs of the Carrollton Fire Department and the commitment to combat the area drug program by the Carrollton Police Department.
The city’s future includes continuing the development of Point Park, filing a grant application for 2013 Land and Water Conservation funds for a splash park, continuing to develop the downtown business district and developing a dog park for local residents and campground visitors.
McMurry noted that Drew Oakley and Terry Roach from Carrollton Utilities designed the new plans for the splash park.
He said the city will be starting to build the river walk, hoping to pour concrete this year. “The city council is committed to developing the downtown area.”
Bryant said the meeting was a “checkup” on the city, to see how far it had come alongsince the previous forum Feb. 16, 2012.
She asked everyone to take a few minutes at their tables and answer the following question: “For Carrollton to be successful, we must ____.”
Multiple people cited the need for Carrollton to be spruced and cleaned up, including repairing sidewalks and parking lots, sweeping and planting the appropriate trees and flowers. Many agreed cleaning up the backs of the buildings was just as important as the fronts, especially because it is the first thing people see from the Ohio and Kentucky rivers.
One suggestion to help the cleanup effort was to put out dumpsters for a day twice a year – once in the spring and again in the fall – for citizens to dispose of their large items. Pat Perkins suggested creating a list of volunteers who would be willing to help if someone needed a large load of trash removed, especially for the elderly. This tied into the need for everyone to be good neighbors to one another and to develop a sense of pride in the community.
Those at the meeting also wanted to see better cooperation and collaboration between the city and county governments. They also wanted to see projects completed, especially the river walk.
Main Street Manager Sam Burgess and others also identified the need for Carrollton to have a firm identity and to build plans around it. Burgess said everyone should think about what they want Carrollton to look like in 10 years and what steps need to be taken in order to achieve that.
In the short term, citizens said cleaning and finishing the river walk was important. Main Street Program President Jeff Moore said locals need to support both the new and old businesses in town by stopping in and buying something. D’Anne Smith suggested visiting other small towns in Kentucky like Midway and Wilmore to see what they are doing.
In the long term, citizens discussed the aging and deteriorating housing stock, as well as the high number of rental properties in the city. McMurry said 51 percent of the housing in Carrollton is rental. Issues with bad tenants moving from one location to another also were discussed.
Those at the public forum wanted to see more businesses in town to attract visitors and other ways to make Carrollton a place where people want to stay.
Bryant said the next step is what participants do after the meeting. “One key piece to this is you,” she said. She said it is important for everyone to talk to their neighbors who didn’t come to the meeting about what was discussed and work toward creating a collaborative vision for the community.
Lock 1 may be open by Memorial Day 2014
Jerry Graves, executive director of the Kentucky River Authority, spoke to those attending the public forum on the work being done at the state’s Kentucky River locks.
Two years ago, the Kentucky River Authority submitted a six-year plan to the Kentucky General Assembly to rehabilitate Locks 1 through 4 to allow traffic to Frankfort. Another part of the plan was to build a new dam at Lock 8 and design a new dam at Lock 10.
Graves said they have completed their projects at Locks 3 and 4. They anticipate bidding out the projects at Locks 1 and 2 in early August.
The goal is to have operation at all four locks by Memorial Day 2014, he said.
The gates will be operated Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It also will be operated on Monday holidays. There will be no lock fee.
General Butler State Resort Park Recreations Director Tanya Supplee said the Park to Park soft trail project will continue soon. The soft trail starts at General Butler on the left hand side of the road near the lake at the parking lot and archery range. It ends at the fence behind the lockmaster housing at Lock No. 1 on the Kentucky River.
The hard trail portion stalled in 2011 because of an erosion problem at Lock 1.
She encouraged everyone to talk to Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson about picking the project back up, as the grant is with the county government.
Want to see what other suggestions were made at the meeting? Check out this story: http://www.mycarrollnews.com/content/public-forum-what-people-had-say