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Williamstown is in a strong financial position, thanks to past mayors and city councils that developed and expanded our utilities. While financially sound, I realize, as mayor, that we must watch all expenses in this tough economic time. What’s been going on during the last year?
The new regional water reclamation plant went into service in November. This new facility was built about four miles west on Kentucky Route 36 toward Stewartsville. It presently has a capacity of treating 1.5 million gallons of waste daily. The cost of the construction was about $15 million. This was financed with a 1 percent loan from Kentucky Infrastructure Authority for 20 years. The new plant is expandable up to a capacity of 3 million gallons per day. Currently, we are processing about 700,000 gallons per day.
Water lines have been upgraded throughout the system with the Phase IV waterline update on Industrial Road, Kelly Avenue, Garnett Avenue, and Lake Street with a scheduled completion in early 2012. This update completely eliminates all six-inch cast iron pipe in the system except on Johnson Street.
The city has contracted with Duke Energy for a new breaker to be installed at their substation. This will help to balance the electric load into three breakers. A new three-phase expansion from that breaker will serve the new load increase at Performance Pipe and the new water reclamation plant.
Within the park system, we received $47,000 for playgrounds and walking trails. The walking trails around the old reservoir have been cleared so you can walk the one-mile trail. Four additional walk bridges have been added to the trail. The city received the Playful City USA designation which allowed us to successfully apply for and receive a KaBOOM! Grant for $20,000. In 2011, there were only 151 cities to get this designation in the U. S. The playgrounds will be built at Webb Park in April.
At Williamstown Lake, we have added a new 12 slip boat dock. This was purchased with a 50/50 grant with the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The total price of the dock was $66,000.
A new event at the lake last year, sponsored by the city with the help from Grant County Tourism and the Lake Association, was “Paddlefest – Canoes and Kayaks in the Country”. This was a huge success with over 150 kayakers and canoers on the lake for a Saturday morning of paddling and exploring. The lake was closed to all power boats and jet skis making it a safe place to paddle. The goal was to show off the lake, its homes, and the beauty and nature on the lake. This will be an annual event scheduled the last Saturday morning before Labor Day.
Beautification of Williamstown is important to me. I want to see us properly maintain our properties and to encourage pride of ownership throughout the community. Thanks to the efforts of former Mayor Glenn Caldwell and former City Administration Doug Beckham, the new bridge into town is an attractive gateway into Williamstown.
The proposed Ark Encounter development is planned for west section of I-75, Exit 154, on Highway 36. This 800-acre site will be developed into a Biblical theme park with the main attraction, a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark. The park will be built in phases and should open in the Spring of 2015.
The city and Williamstown school are working on a joint venture to build an indoor aquatic center. The center would be built on school property and open daily to residents of Williamstown. The city and school have entered into an agreement with an architect to develop plans and specifications for construction. These plans are to be ready by Fall 2012.
I feel Williamstown is poised for growth and has taken a pro-active approach to the future.
(Rick Skinner is mayor of Williamstown and a business owner. He took office in January 2011. His term runs through December 2014.)