CATLETTSBURG A new animal shelter, public park revamps, a remodel of the convention center and a proposal to house the majority of county government services under one roof are among the many trailblazing projects the Boyd County Fiscal Court laid out at a Thursday work session.
In a continuation of the wish list Judge-Executive Eric Chaney rattled off at the last Fiscal Court meeting, commissioners dove into the nitty-gritty of the proposed projects and the financing behind it.
Perhaps the biggest news — and the most exploratory in terms of where they’re at — is Chaney’s proposal to swap some county land at Paul Coffey park with the owners of the Addington Building over in Cannonsburg, a former coal mine equipment facility.
Depending on how the property at Paul Coffey would appraise, the county would still have to put in some cash money to seal the deal, Chaney noted.
Chaney told the court he’d been in communications with the owners for the past six to seven months and has visited the site several times.
The size of the facility, along with the land, would allow the county government to maintain only one building as opposed to the multiple ones Chaney said the county has to provide upkeep and utilities for now.
“Ever since I was elected to this fiscal court, I’ve believed in government efficiency,” Chaney said. “If this pans out, this would be an efficient use of resources.”
Chaney was explicitly clear that by law, the county seat would not move to Cannonsburg. He said if this were to happen, elected officials would still maintain offices in Catlettsburg, but the animal shelter, the county roads department, the clerk’s office and other entities would be housed underneath one roof, making it a one-stop shop for taxpayers.
The commissioners all said they would take a look at the facility and go from there.
At the top of the agenda as well is a new animal shelter, possible relocated by the dog park. At a price tag of $200,000 to $250,000, the shelter would focus on high turnover to move dogs in and out of the facility. The old shelter could then be turned into a community center, Chaney said. In addition, the dog park would see $25,000 in investment.
A permanent home for the farmer’s market, which now sets up in the Kyova Mall parking lot, is being looked at as well. The building would have garage doors as walls, which would allow vendors to back their truck up to sell their wares off their tailgates. Additionally, a kitchen and an area for special events will be inside, as well as a gift shop.
The county will budget $660,000 for the project, but may be able to procure a grant through the FIVCO District to cover $250,000 of the cost.
Right now, some county land by Boyd County High School has been proposed as the future site, however it is currently too small to accommodate parking. Economic Development Director T.J. Morrison said he’d look into talking to surrounding landowners about working out a deal in regards to that.
The Boyd County Convention Center could also receive a lobby, with a concession stand window. Chaney, remarking that the building looks like a barn, said putting on an entrance would increase the profile on the facility and attract more traffic.
Morrison said it would be tantamount to providing “Lexington- and Louisville-quailty at a Boyd County price.” Chaney set the price at around $400,000-$450,000.
These projects, along with massive park investments, would be paid for by refinancing a 20-year bond the county has $5 million equity in. According to Chaney, the county is currently paying 3.25-3.75% on the bond.
With the refinancing, that would drop to 2-2.5%. While it would extend the bond another 20 years, it would ultimately lower the price on the bond, while providing the capital to fund the projects.
Commissioner Larry Brown said he’s excited for the projects, but asked Chaney and the rest of the court to prioritize them.
While supportive of the proposals, Brown suggested upgrades to the senior center, street lights at dangerous intersections in the county, pickleball and a concession stand at Armco Park, reopening the Westwood office of the Sheriff’s Department and better signage throughout Boyd County.
In a phone call after the meeting, Brown said he hopes the community will have some input before the projects get underway.
Here are some more projects outlined by Chaney:
• Armco Park: Putting in a 1-2 acre pond and stocking it with fish ($100,000), look into developing the old brick Route 60 inside the park into a historical attraction ($100,000 for exploring it), landscaping, adorning the park with items donated by AK Steel along with plaques, putting in a small bandstand, murals, renovating the amphitheater ($150,000-$250,000) and revamping the disc golf fields ($22,000).
• Westwood Park: Adding a walking track ($5,000), volleyball court ($5,000) and a basketball court ($15,000).
• Fraley Field Park: Installing an indoor recreation center with a full gym, classrooms for cooking and sewing programs, kitchen, a concession stand, a T-ball field and basketball courts ($300,000-$500,000). Part of this may mean taking out one baseball field.
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