“With just a little stroke of the pen we brought Levi Jackson back home. Now it belongs to the citizens of the city and county and we are so proud that we were able to do that.” Those were the words of Mayor Troy Rudder this morning after the city officially took control of Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, which will now be just Levi Jackson Wilderness Road Park since is no longer owned by the state.
Mayor Rudder joined members of the London City Council, London Tourism and state property official Jason Martin at the signing ceremony at city hall. New park superintendent Joey Engle introduced two members of his staff and said they are eager to get started improving the rundown state park.
The city has been working to gain control of Levi Jackson for several years after the state expressed a willingness to give it away due to a lack of money for its upkeep. The city will use tourism funds to maintain and expand the park. The deed represents about 900 acres and includes the Laurel County Fairgrounds and the J.M. Feltner 4-H Camp, which will continue to be leased by the state.
Opening dates are getting closer for Kohl’s and the other stores in the remodeled London Marketplace.
The apparent failure of an overflow pipe caused the large pond at Somerset Community College to drain almost completely away overnight Wednesday, Aug. 28th. The water started draining following a hard rain after midnight, and had disappeared by 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 28th.
Loss of the large volume of water also caused the side of the main road leading to the London-Laurel Wellness Park to give way, prompting officials to close the road until the situation is assessed. After initially believing the park could stay open via a detour, SCC officials informed London Parks and Recreation Director Mackie Williams that they were concerned about the stability of the area, and asked that the Wellness Park be closed through the Labor Day weekend.
The pond and the drainage system were built decades ago when the property was a depot for coal coming in from Eastern Kentucky. Four large heavy equipment tires were uncovered in the bottom of the pond. London and Laurel County purchased the property and later deeded portions, including the road, to Somerset Community College.
Williams said he inspected below the Wellness Park where the drain pipe exits to make sure there was no flood damage from the millions of gallons of water sucked out of the pond. “I went all the way down to the railroad track and there wasn’t any damage,” he said. “There is a big culvert under the railroad track that leads to the Little Laurel River back there. The creek is huge so the water just dispersed.”
The Wellness Park off College Park Dr. re-opened on Wednesday, Sept. 4th. For safety purposes, the City is asking the public to follow the “detour” signs to the park and use caution while driving through Somerset Community College’s Laurel Campus to access the road between the ponds.
As always, be mindful of pedestrians and enjoy the park!
Work on the new Town Center Park next to London Elementary is progressing nicely under the supervision of Craig Mullins Construction of London. The stage area at the top of the park is taking shape, along with the restroom complex and drainage network.
At it’s regular monthly meeting Monday evening, City of London Tourism awarded a contract to architect David Zawko of Deco Architects to design a permanent shade structure, with artistic notes, in the center of the park and a matching clamshell cover over the stage.
Construction on the Town Center Park should be finished later this year.
For the fourth year in a row, the London Police Department had a successful National Night Out. National Night Out is a free family-friendly designated safe night out across America to promote awareness, safety and neighborhood unity.
Over 300 attended with over 25 community partners providing free food and giveaways. London Police held a Pinewood Derby for children and a Shop with a Cop “Pie an Officer in the Face” fundraiser. London Police collected $686 in donations for Shop with a Cop. The Kentucky Bloodmobile was in attendance, receiving 10 registered donors and seven units of blood.
The City of London Fire Department will have a new first-out fire truck after bids were awarded at last night’s London City Council meeting. The fire department sought bids for a new fire truck and, following Chief Carl Hacker’s recommendation, the council accepted a bid of $564,889 for a 2019 Ferrara fire truck from America’s Bravest Equipment Co. in Louisville.
The new truck is a demo, which saved the city thousands of dollars. “It has a lot more capabilities than what we put in our specs, for a lot less money,” Hacker said. The truck will replace an engine that came into service 33 years ago. The council allocated money to pay the debt service on the truck in the new fiscal year budget.
Hacker said the state-of-the-art fire engine will be delivered next month after it is outfitted with $129,962 in new fire equipment, including $90,000 for new air packs for the city’s firemen.
Rotary Park on Dixie Street now has a wheelchair-accessible swing for people with special needs. It also allows two people to swing along with the wheelchair.
The City of London strives to make all of our parks and facilities equally accessible to everyone.
Mayor Troy Rudder and Judge-Executive David Westerfield joined Governor Matt Bevin and other officials to announce plans to complete the final segment of KY 30 along the 37-mile corridor that stretches from KY 11 in Booneville to the Hal Rogers Parkway in London.
At the end of August, a contract will be awarded to straighten the 13.5-mile curvy corridor between US 421 in Jackson County to Travellers Rest in Owsley County, reducing the length by 3.5 miles. A shorter, straighter path means drive times will be cut in half from 21 minutes to 11 minutes. KY 30 is the most direct route from Lee, Jackson and Owsley Counties to I-75 south, businesses in London, western Kentucky and Tennessee.
The announcement was made at the Department of Highways garage on West Ky. 80 in London.