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City approves documents for East, West trail project

A long awaited trail project through Jessamine County made a couple steps forward Monday as Nicholasville officials approved documents for design and property acquisition.

The Nicholasville City Commission approved resolutions for two phases of the trail, one from East Jessamine High School to Central Avenue and a second from West Jessamine High to Cook Lane and Allie Run.

Ultimately, the entire trail will connect East Jessamine High School to Harrodsburg Road, City Engineer Tim Cross said.

So far, the state allocated $881,250 for the East phase and $400,000 for West, Cross said, including a 20% match from the city.

The East project scored highest with state highway officials as it would accommodate students who walk to school as well, Mayor Pete Sutherland said.

“That was deemed most important because there’s a lot of kids that walk (to school) and there’s no sidewalks,” he said.

The resolutions will allow city officials to finalize the design for the two phases, relocate utility lines and acquire the necessary property rights-of-way. Sutherland said most of the property is already owned by the school district or the government.

Estimates for both phases in 2019 placed costs for the East phase at $2.5 million for 3,400 linear feet and the West phase at $1.7 million for 4,700 linear feet.

When the East phase is completed, Cross said the trail would be about four miles and would connect to an existing trail system along U.S. 68, Cross said. The entire trail would be about five miles long.

Construction is still a little ways off, he said, but much closer than it has been in years.

“They wouldn’t move us to this step if there’s not money for us to turn the dirt,” Cross said. At this point, though, there is no timetable for construction.

The commissioners unanimously approved the appointment of Craig Cox as the new chief for the Nicholasville Fire Department. Cox had served as interim chief for about two weeks, following the retirement Feb. 1 of former chief Mark Case.

Sutherland said Cox had served as an assistant chief under Case.

During the commission meeting Monday, Cox said he was “humbled and honored” to be chosen.

“I look forward to working with each of you,” he said. “It’s going to be good.”

In other action, the commission:

• approved the second reading of an ordinance to rezone .103 acres at 103 S. First St. from B-1 central business to R-1D single family residential.

• approved the second reading of an ordinance to rezone 0.36 acres at 700 S. Main St. from B-1 to R-1T townhouse residential.

• heard a presentation from Allen Norvell of Blue and Company of the city’s audit for fiscal year 2020. Norvell said the city had a clean audit with no deficiencies or issues of non-compliance.

• approved the hire of a seasonal police officer to patrol the city’s parks.

• reappointed Taylor Richards to the Nicholasville Board of Adjustments.

• hired two water distribution and wastewater collection trainees.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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