Berea approves airport board expansion

The Berea City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance Tuesday evening that allows for the expansion of the Madison County Airport Board, enabling two appointees representing Eastern Kentucky University to join the board. The body currently includes representatives appointed by the City of Berea, City of Richmond, and the Madison County Fiscal Court.

All three local governments in Madison County approved the change on the basis that EKU’s growing Aviation program is the fixed based operator of the Central Kentucky Regional Airport, previously known as Madison County Airport. In addition to broadening the representation of the board, the move will allow the airport board to draw from a broader pool of available funding, officials said. ‘

After the measure was adopted, Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley expressed appreciation for State Representative Deanna Frazier, who sponsored legislation that allowed EKU representatives to join the board. Fraley also thanked Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe and Madison County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor for their continued partnership in improving improving the airport.

State officials: Chestnut slated for repairs

Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley revealed Tuesday he has been lobbying Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 7 officials to fix Chestnut Street, and that the state government has committed to repairing the road this fiscal year.

Fraley addressed the issue Tuesday night during a meeting of the Berea City Council during the mayoral comments segment of the business session.

“We have been working diligently with Transportation Cabinet District 7 trying to get repairs made,” Fraley said, who said he personally contacted the chief district supervising engineer Kelly Baker. Baker reported Chestnut Street has made the cut for resurfacing this year, and letting of the project could begin as early as this fall, according to the mayor. Highway 1016 is also on the state’s to-do list to complete this fiscal year, Fraley said.

Berea City Councilman Jerry Little noted there is a lot of confusion among citizens about why the City of Berea doesn’t fix Chestnut Street. He said the city can’t resurface Chestnut Street because state and federal highways are technically out of the city’s jurisdiction, leaving Berea to depend on the state’s transportation cabinet. Nonetheless, both Little and Fraley said they have heard the complaints of local motorists and they are working to get it repaired. 

“I’m certainly interested in it because it needs to be fixed, so we’re working on it with our folks in the state to try to make that happen,” Fraley said. Repairs will stretch along Chestnut Street to interstate exit 76.

On a related note, Little, who chairs the Berea City Council Public Works Committee, cautioned there has been a steep drop in gasoline tax revenues in recent years, making it more difficult to repair all of the streets that need resurfacing and paving.

Little predicted the revenue problem will become worse as more electric cars take to the road, and less gasoline is sold, which will cause further declines in gasoline tax revenues distributed to the cities. This year the city has budgeted $275,000 to spend on resurfacing, which Little said is inadequate when considering the number of roads in Berea that need repair.

Mountain Bike Trail on pace for summer completion

Contractors are making significant progress on the Berea mountain bike trail off of J.C. Chambers Road. So far, workers have carved out approximately two miles of berms, drops and turns that run through the forest and along Silver Creek. Progress is also being made at a pump track near the entrance of the facility, where kids and novice mountain bike riders can practice and build their skills. In all, the entire course will contain approximately 10 miles of mountain bike trails, according to city officials. Perhaps best of all, the project is still on track for a summer finish. The Berea Mountain Bike Trail is being funded by the Berea Tourism Commission, part of an initiative to use tourism dollars to build local attractions that can be enjoyed by both local citizens and visitors from out of town.

Folk Center repairs on track to finish

The Russel Acton Folk Center is looking much better these days, thanks to a $19,000 facelift to seal and prevent water damage in the Jefferson Street structure. Pictured above is Jake Morris, who was recently putting the finishing touches on the insulation material between the wooden planks. Workers predict the center is just a couple of weeks away from completion. The contract for repairs was awarded to Jason’s Pressure Washing back in April.