Water seems to be the main cause of the majority of problems within our city. City Administrator Frank Warnock and City Engineer Mike Yeager walked Lincoln road and Covert Run last week to try to better understand the problems we are currently facing. They started walking at the top of the hill on Lincoln next to Woodlyn Ridge with a few residents. By the time they reached Truman down below, it was a party with numerous curious, concerned residents pointing out issues on Lincoln. Later that day, they were off to take a look at Covert Run. Numerous residents have reported issues there, too. Mr. Yeager has been given the task of recommending both long- and short-term fixes for this problem. Frank called Sanitation District No.1 and requested another meeting with them. We’re trying to get our arms around a problem that has existed in Bellevue for a long time. Our hearts break when we hear the stories about the burdens our citizens experience when there is a heavy rain. As to Lincoln Road, we already have been told that the cost to finish construction of infrastructure is about $2.6 million. We don’t have it. SD1 told us two months ago that they were in the process of adding a new storm drain system to the 300 block of Cleveland sometime within the next year. This was discussed when we were deciding how to get rid of the extra water from the FEMA hillslide project from North and South Sherry streets area. Their recommendation was to collect the runoff water in a new drain system we would install and tie it into their new line on Cleveland. We are not going to have any quick simple answers. However, we will keep looking at the issues and try to make an effort for a long-term fix. Frank and I has met with numerous residents to hear and try to understand their concerns. We are meeting with engineers who may possibly offer some solutions. We met with a grant writer to seek funding. We’re not there yet, but we’re trying.
Frank and I met with the three top decision-makers from the Kent Lofts project to follow up on the concerns brought up at the last council meeting. Here are the concessions we received from the developers. Construction workers will no longer park on Lafayette or the Pilot Lumber side of Grandview. They will not drive the wrong way on Lafayette. Workers that cannot park in the spots available on Grandview will be directed to go to the lot on Retreat Street. Pilot Lumber will make three spots available for the developers. The developers will try to keep the dust to a minimum and clean up the site daily. The construction will occur between the hours of 7 am and 4:30 pm for the most part. The weeds on the side of the building will be removed. Their goal is to have residents start moving in by December 2019 and the entire project completed by March 2020. A letter informing the residents of these changes was hand delivered that same day by Frank Warnock to all of the houses on Lafayette Ave. near the construction site.
We finally rolled out the Marianne RFP (request for proposals). The deadline for these proposals is August 31, 2019. Several people have asked me what I hope the Marianne would become and my answer is a productive private investment. The City purchased the property on May 29, 2014, for $138,380.00 and with repairs and insurance costs the total now exceeds $300,000.
Bourbon Barrel Project
You still have until July 15 to join this fun project and sponsor a bourbon barrel. The fee to become a sponsor is $1,200. This covers the cost of the barrel along with the fees and the materials for the artist to paint it. All of the barrels will have a solar light feature. The barrels will remain in place lighting up the main streets in our river cities for 1 year.
Go to www.nkybourbonbarrels.com for more information.
We learned a lot from our meeting with the cable system managers, and their presentation at the last City Council meeting. We can have them produce television shows for us at no extra cost to the City. I would like our first show to be about the Community Garden. It is an amazing project that deserves to be viewed and not just talked about. I was just contacted today about an interview of the new mayors that will be filmed later this month.
We are looking into upgrading Swope Park by adding electric so that we can have City functions at this location also. There will be new family friendly equipment installed in our parks as we can afford it. We are applying for grant money for our parks because several places have money available for this purpose. Our Ambassador meeting with Ken Grause of Pilot Lumber last month gave us the origin of this park. Starting in 1919 Gorman Coal and Supply leased the whole block from Taylor to Lafayette and Grandview to Covert Run from the C & O railroad for $180.00 per month. In 1933, it became Peters Coal and Supply. In 1959, the City of Bellevue leased the playground from Peters Coal for a very small fee and a promise to carry liability insurance and hold them harmless from any loss or claim occasioned by the use of this lot. In the late 1970’s, the railroad took back this lot from the Grause family who had purchased Peters Coal in 1971 but still allowed the City to use it for recreation. Finally, the railroad sold it to the city with 17 other lots in 1993. Now, it’s a busy, enjoyable park.
Short Term Rentals
We have been working on short term rental regulations. The sentiment seems to be to allow them in Bellevue, but also monitor and regulate them in a reasonable manner. We want to decrease the negative impact to our City such as noise, parking, remote management, misuse of property. We have a draft of an ordinance, and we are hopeful to have a first reading July 10.
The City’s $5 million 2019-20-2020 budget was completed and approved. Funds are tight mostly due to the CERS (pension fund) going up 12 percent per year. We built the budget on a foundation from information and requests from the elected leaders, staff and citizens. We held a visioning session in March, 2019, and the ideas captured there are the foundation of our annual budget. Improving communication and transparency was a major theme. We’ve tried to respond quickly to every phone call and email. We re-designed our website. We are publishing a monthly newsletter. We are posting are minutes. We have weekly staff meetings where we communicate and talk to each other.
Pedestrian mobility and safety was another theme from the visioning session. We have installed new bike racks. We are looking at improving our traffic signage, signals and markings. We are looking at improving sidewalks, tree wells and streets. We’re upgrading our parks. We are trying to apply for every grant that we can if it makes sense to do so. We are struggling with the regulation of cell tower rules and have numerous companies contacting us wanting to install equipment in Bellevue.
Hey, Darkness Brewing has its third anniversary celebration July 17- July 20. Frank’s buying the beer!
The City parking lot behind Dobblings has new directional signage in place to be used by customers and store owners. Please park in the lot and shop in our stores.
The 2019 Second Saturday Concert Series is 7-10 pm at the Bellevue Beach Park. Put on your dancing shoes, the Belairs band will be playing. Also, we have a car show and fireworks. Can’t beat that!