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Simpsonville's new sidewalks won't be ready for holiday ceremony

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Hurt promoted to SPD sergeant

By Steve Doyle

SIMPSONVILLE – Those long-awaited and much-anticipated spiffy downtown sidewalks won’t get to bask in the holiday lights at Light Up Simpsonville after all.

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Simpsonville City Administrator David Eaton told the city commission at its meeting Tuesday night that although the sidewalks should be completed in a couple of weeks, they won’t be ready by the holiday-opening event on Nov. 16.

“We’re very, very close,” Eaton said. “The mayor said not to say two weeks, so I’ll say fourteen days.”

The sidewalks, funded in part by a federal stimulus grant, offer an upscale corridor along the south side of U.S. 60 between Old Veechdale Road in the east and Fairview Drive in the west. They represent the first phase of the long-range Village Center concept the city adopted in 2008.

The work by Bluegrass Contracting of Lexington has gone fairly smoothly by all indications, but utility problems, brickwork and adding in the accoutrements have taken longer than had been anticipated. Weather also has been a factor.

“In that big windstorm the other night, some limbs came down, pulled a power pole over to a thirty-or-thirty-five-degree angle an broke some of the concrete,” Eaton said. “If not for the concrete, it probably would have broken the pole.”

Otherwise, the progress has been good, Eaton said. “Some of the light poles are up, and the base of the clock is up,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of comments when the light poles went up. People really, really like what they see.”

Said Mayor Steve Eden: “We were hoping to be done with sidewalks for Light Up Simpsonville. But we have several trees to be planted, and waiting a year means they won’t look like Charlie Brown Christmas trees with the lights weighing them down.”

Light Up Simpsonville begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16 and includes a variety of holiday celebrations and a free community chili supper.

Hurt promoted to sergeant

Simpsonville Police Officer Tim Hurt was promoted to sergeant by SPD Chief Chip Minnis. Eden swore in Hurt and then, with the help of Hurt’s wife, Karen, pinned chevrons on his collars.

Hurt fills the leadership void created by the retirement in September of Scott Chappell, who had stepped down from chief to sergeant before Minnis was hired. Several other members of Hurt’s family were on hand to witness the ceremony, as was new SPD Officer Terry Putnam.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to have a ceremony,” Hurt said. “A lot of agencies don’t take time out to have these swearing-in ceremonies.”

Said Eden: “We really appreciate your contributions and that of the entire force.”

Potential for gas franchises

City Attorney Hite Hays told the commission that a report at the Kentucky League of Cities meeting about natural gas franchises had generated some discussion about the city’s lack of such franchises, which could be a new revenue source.

He said he would be distributing to commissioners a proposal to hire an attorney to create gas franchises in the city. Louisville Gas & Electric and Atmos Energy serve the city, and neither has a franchise.

“Mayor, state law requires cities to have gas franchises,” Eaton said after Hays spoke. “We went back and looked and found a franchise with one [gas company] in about 1980, but we couldn’t find the second. We’re not in compliance with Kentucky state law because we don’t have the franchises we’re supposed to.”

Also at the meeting, commissioners:

  • Approved payments of $154,327.50 to Twin States Utilities and Excavation Inc. and $53,044.61 to Derrick Engineering for work on the sewer extension built under Interstate 64 to connect to the Outlet Shoppes of Louisville project. Sewer Commissioner Michael Hesse said the boring under the highway was complete and that soon the line would be connected to the mall construction.
  • Passed on first reading an ordinance that addresses text amendments of zoning regulations as presented by the Triple S Planning Commission. These changes address some definitions and requirements to control light pollution. The second reading will be considered on Nov. 20.
  • Approved financial reports by Commissioner Cary Vowels that showed, through the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, the city had taken in 42 percent of its revenue budget year and is on pace for expenses (about 24 percent). The sewer board report is almost identical.
  • Heard from Eaton that the city had done some repaving in Cardinal Club because of a bubble in the pavement where a new sewer line was installed last year. Eden also said paving and repair work would be done soon on Reserves Court, too.
  • Received from Katie Fussenegger, executive director of the Shelbyville/Shelby County Tourism &Visitors Bureau, the annual audit of the tourism commission.