The Special Called meeting of the Boyle County Fiscal Court was held on the 16th day of January, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Members present at the meeting were:
Judge Howard Hunt
Others present at the meeting were, Fiscal Court Clerk Anne Nagy, Bobbie Curd from the Advocate Messenger, Pat Boatwright, Mayor Mike Perros, James Hunn, Angela Allen, Louise Allen, Steve Knight, Janet Hamner, Steve Griffin, Stephanie Griffin, Dustin Duvall, Josh Gooch, Alan Turbyfill, Marty Gibson, Jeff Jewel, Jennifer Kirchner, Jamee Peyton, Jody Lassiter and Public Works Director Duane Campbell Attorney Chris Herron was absent.
Judge Hunt called the Special Called session to order. Today we are here to discuss Constitution Square, utility issues and the Memorandum of Agreement between the County and our tenants at the Constitution Square which is Economic Development Partnership (EDP) and company. Additionally to discuss future management of the Park as the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has expressed a desire to separate themselves from the day-to-day management of the Park. Jennifer Kirchner, CVB, acknowledged that it has been in the CVB strategic plan to transition from daily park management. Ms. Kirchner expressed the CVB has an interest in relocating to an unoccupied Main Street property. This is all in a “brain storming” mode. She mentioned CVB is excited about opportunities related to the bourbon industry. How the CVB and other agencies move forward with grants and partnerships as developed in partnership with the Court.
Judge Hunt suggested beginning with the utilities. Charts on our expenditures at the Park, followed by the Memorandum of Agreement executed through 2021. Jody Lassiter stated the MOA is a three year term. In 2018 rent was set at $20,000 premised on County payment for utility costs. Jody continued that utilities (water/electric) were actually below $20,000, for the purpose of the contractual arrangement. Magistrate Cullen stated the 2019 electrical and water you are slightly over $20,000. Jennifer Kirchner stated the outdoor park, cabins, bathroom lights, Farmers Market and maintenance garage are included in the utility bill which are all public areas that are not part of the MOA lease.
Magistrate Sammons requested clarification that EDP was carving out the utility expenses incurred in the public areas of the Park. This was affirmed by Mr. Lassiter of EDP.
Magistrate Cullen how much square footage is available and how much is utilized by EDP. Mr. Lassiter calculated six buildings with Grayson’s Tavern being the largest. Mr. Lassiter estimated approximately 12,000-15,000 sq. ft. Magistrate Ellis asked Public Works Director, Duane Campbell when were the building last updated. Mr. Campbell stated the last renovation was 1970s. Street lamps have been updated with LED bulbs. A discussion ensued concerning the feasibility of solar power options, perhaps a canopy of solar panels over the five off street parking spaces. There is some concern of this in a historic preservation setting. Magistrate Cullen requested Mr. Campbell request Wilderness Trace Solar evaluate the property and offer suggestions.
Discussion continued related to maintenance of grounds, buildings, Governor’s Circle, the cohesive interpretation of the history of Constitution Square. The state of the contents and building infrastructure and sidewalks. Also discussed was the possibility of a park/event manager and crew.
Event management, reservations, accountability, contracts, liability insurance were also discussed. Rental income has dropped from approximately $8,000 to $825.
Magistrate Caywood asked Ms. Kirchner why such a dramatic drop in event income. Ms. Kirchner described the perception that people think it is difficult to have events there because of bureaucracy and politics. Constitution Square has become a political problem that has a bad reputation in terms of people using the facilities. The facilities may be rented but are not private, the area is still open to the public. Magistrate Ellis requested more information related to political intrigue; we need to understand. Ms. Kirchner responded rental requires work with city and county for road closures, licenses and fees a lot of people just don’t want to deal with the government.
Magistrate Cullen and Ellis has specific questions related to the opportunity to rent one or two houses on Fisher’s Row to commercial enterprise. Income generated via rent would be a benefit to our taxpayers.
Magistrate Caywood stated, the questions is where do we want to go? If we want to raise the bar we have to spend some money. Who is going to manage it and oversee it to verify that goals are achieved? We need to reach out and communicate with the community and get everyone involved in the big picture. We need numbers to see the jewel that we have. We must be part of a bigger group, it makes a lot of sense. We must be part of a trail or something to connect and bring people into central Kentucky where we can be part of something to visit.
Judge Hunt: this is an opportunity for tourism and the other park residents to have a functional responsibility of a day to day basis that promotes the park, helps maintain the park and give us a vision for more than what has been but what it can be. Someone to bring together programming the future of the park. Judge Hunt stated he would like to form a seven member Constitution Square Advisory Committee that would review the current issues and develop a cohesive vision for the park and develop funding resources.
Magistrate Caywood agreed. I see this committee as a positive recommendation to us.
Judge Hunt said from a historical preservation it will take everyone from the court, the committee and the community. It will take money but this committee may find fundraising through the Friends of Constitution Square or some other venue to help give us some resources to do the kinds of things that need to be done.
Magistrate Caywood shared that, as a Court, we not really focused on this and the committee could be.
Magistrate Cullen – how do we form this committee – let’s knock this out. Must we form the committee first and then start appointing to it? Can we make a recommendation that we form a committee and then nominate members by January 27th for the January 28th Fiscal Court?
Judge Hunt requested nominates to the committee be submitted no later than 1/27/20. The seven person advisory committee will be created with the mission to move ahead on historical preservation and interpretation of Constitution Square.
Magistrate Cullen made the motion to form the Constitution Square Advisory Committee. Magistrate Ellis second. All magistrates voted in favor of the motion.
Judge Hunt adjourned the meeting at 11:45am.
Howard P. Hunt III
Boyle County Judge Executive