The Park Hills City Council addressed several items at its Tuesday meeting, including passing ordinances, hiring new legal counsel for the city, and hearing progress reports on city projects. A public hearing to reopen a previously closed street was also held.
At the hearing preceding the council meeting, Community Development Director Robert Sullivan spoke about opening a portion of Kearns Street that was reportedly vacated without documentation. Sullivan said the street must have been vacated before Park Hills was a city, since he was unable to locate any records on the action. The owner of a house on the vacated street had brought this detail to the city’s attention. Sullivan explained that by closing that portion of the street, the house became landlocked, which will cause problems if the homeowner tries to sell the property.
The council passed an ordinance to open the section of Kearns Street and declare it a public right-of-way.
Next, City Administrator Mark McFarland gave his monthly report. He outlined some of the plans for the Cruisin’ for a Cause event on Oct. 5 throughout downtown. McFarland said the charity event will also be a birthday celebration of Park Hills’ 25 years as a consolidated city. All of the birthday festivities are in place and will happen on the main stage at 10 a.m.
McFarland said Cruisin’ for a Cause organizer Holly Buxton wants Park Hills leaders to attend the event, and is trying to contact the committee members who 25 years ago put together the original petition to incorporate the city as it is today. Buxton is also trying to contact the original charter commissioners and anyone who was on the first Park Hills city council, since there are plans to open a time capsule that was buried when Park Hills became a city. McFarland said they will eventually fill the time capsule with new items to be buried and reopened in another 25 years.
McFarland gave an update on this year's baseball and soccer leagues, saying they are now in full swing. There are 36 teams in five different leagues.
“As soon as the season’s over for that, we’re going to do some work on the outfield,” McFarland said. “I think they’re going to plow them up, smooth them out, and do whatever they have to do to get them ready for the spring.”
Soccer season has begun and McFarland said they had the largest number of participants so far with 320 players creating 26 teams this year. The season will begin this Saturday and continues through October.
Other sports in the city include disc golf, whose players meeting in Columbia Park on Tuesday evenings.
McFarland also mentioned code enforcement saying six to eight lots had been addressed per week and he feels the city is finally getting caught up with code violations.
The last topic on which McFarland reported was the Flat River Commons Project, informally referred to as the Fairgrounds project.
McFarland began with a scripture reading that he felt was pertinent to the project. He read Luke 14:28-29: “For which of you intending to build a tower does not sit down first and count the cost. Whether he has enough to finish it,” McFarland read. “Lest after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish it, all who see will begin to mock him.”
The hiking and biking trail into St. Joe State Park is now complete with the exception of some grass seed and a small amount of gravel, according to McFarland. The approximately 2,200-foot long trail was built at a cost of $564,000. McFarland said a few more bills haven’t come in yet, but he estimates the total to be no more than $90,000.
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The city’s street workers have taken over construction on the gravel off-road vehicle (ORV) trail, a section of which will run through a tunnel under the hiking and biking trail. McFarland said the street department’s efforts have saved the city a lot of money.
“We are going to complete the project,” said McFarland. “Nobody’s going to sit and make fun of us. They might make fun of how much money we spent on it.
“In my opinion, I think the planning of this whole project was ridiculous,” he said. “I think the project is a wonderful idea and I think it’s going to be a big boom to the city but the cost and counting the cost has been terrible … that’s just my opinion.”
The two parking lots at the head of the trail are now paved and once the restroom facilities and the gatehouse are finished, the project will be pretty much complete, according to McFarland.
The council took up new business, and the first item addressed was to pass an ordinance to allow Ameren Missouri to install a single-phase electrical line extension and to provide service to the ORV and hiking and biking trail facilities.
Next, the council approved an ordinance to retain the legal services of Nathan Bollinger as City Counselor. City Mayor Daniel Naucke recommended Bollinger to replace longtime City Counselor Ed Pultz, who is retiring this year after 20 years of service to Park Hills.
“Ed will still be with us for a little while,” said Naucke. “[Bollinger and Pultz] will be working together to get everything lined out for the transition.”
Pultz added that he thought the council made a good choice in selecting Bollinger as his replacement.
Two ordinances pertaining to personnel matters were also passed, including the hiring of city employees and amending the personnel manual as it pertains to health, dental, and vision insurances.
The last ordinance passed on Tuesday authorizes an agreement with Lead Belt Materials Co. Inc. for asphalt paving projects.
The city is planning to pave Doss Road, the Stanley Street extension by Dominos, and the alley behind Dominos at a total cost of $42,645, according to the agreement.
Finally, a letter was shared from the President of the Downtown Park Hills Association (DPHA) and Councilman David Easter, requesting the use of the city’s municipal parking lot for the DPHA’s 14th annual Trunk or Treat event. The event will take place on Oct. 31, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.