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WHAT TO WATCH 4

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ARK SITE PLAN APPROVED; BOND SALES CONTINUE

Developers of the Ark Encounter, a biblical-based theme park planned for Williamstown, is moving, forward with actual dirt being moved on the 800-acre site off Ky. 36 this spring.

The first phase of the project, which will feature a 510-foot, or 300 cubit, replica of Noah’s Ark, is estimated to cost $73 million. The Grant County Planning Commission approved the site plan for the project in November 2013.

The Williamstown City Council gave first reading to the plan on Jan. 6.
Approximately $26.5 million of securities have been sold for the project but it still needs another $29 million in unrated municipal bonds sold by Feb. 6.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Will legislators pass a budget on time or be forced into another special session costing the taxpayers money?
Will this be the year lawmakers approve a measure allowing voters to decide on expanded gaming in Kentucky?
What programs and offices across the state will feel the brunt of likely cuts?

Will education funding finally see an increase this year as Gov. Beshear has made a priority or will school board be forced to make tough decisions with their budgets?

Will the minimum wage increase from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 as the Democratic-led House lists as its priority?

These questions and many more will be discussed, debated and eventually decided over the next few months as legislators have returned to Frankfort for the 2014 General Assembly.

Look for updates throughout the session from Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Rep. Brian Linder, R-Dry Ridge, in the Grant County News.

• Ark Encounter

Other questions 2014 may provide answers to:
• With construction on Barnes Road complete, will the area begin to reap the benefits with growth of retail or other projects?
• A year later, has the local economy started to bounce back or are area businesses continuing to struggle?
• Despite efforts by opponents and proposed tighter eminent domain legislation, will the Bluegrass Pipeline project continue to move forward?

• What will be the fate of former Grant County High School band director Dave Owens be after multiple sexual abuse charges involving two former students at GCHS and Beechwood High School?

 

ELECTION 2014

Four years have already passed, but 2014 will once again see local city and county office up for election.
The biggest race to watch is undoubtedly for judge-executive.
With Darrell Link opting not to run for re-election, the big question becomes who will be next to lead the county government? There are currently six candidates with a couple weeks left to file.
Williamstown attorney Pete Whaley, who also serves on the Williamstown Independent School Board, and Steve Wood are the Republican challengers.
Wood narrowly lost to Link four years ago after he went to the courts for a recount.
On the Democratic side, former circuit clerk Shirley Wilson, country magistrate Richard Austin, Keith Ellington and Anitra Jump will face off in the May primary.
The crowded county clerk’s race features at least five candidates trying to take over Leatha Conrad’s seat.
Four Republican challengers currently also are challenging Terry Peeples’ bid for a second term as jailer.
In November, the city offices will also be up for election.