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I would like to respond to the article that recently appeared in the Magnet titled “City cannot use Main Street funds for road access.” This story, while factually correct omits some important context.
The thrust of the story was that the Magnet received a copy of a letter from Commissioner Beverly Ingram. In that letter, the state said that the Main Street grant funds could not be used to create an entry access to the property owned by Judy and John Shircliffe at 95 E. Main St. It further stated that if the city chose to create this access, the city would have to reimburse the state for the cost of the current sidewalk in that location since the Phase II Main Street project was completed per the plans approved and submitted by the city.
The article does not discuss the fact that some changes to the referenced plans were approved by the city and included in the current configuration of the Phase II project on Main Street.
At that time I was the Main Street manager and presented the change requests on behalf of the Main Street Committee and the requesting businesses. In fact, the change requested by the Shircliffes was made prior to the sidewalk being poured when no grant money had been spent. The change would have saved the cost of the project an estimated $5,000 to $10,000. All other requested changes were approved by the city except the one submitted by the Shircliffes. That request was disapproved by a vote of four to one, with only Mayor Pay voting for it.
In a subsequent meeting, then-Commissioner Nathan Nation made a motion to reconsider the denial. Under city commission rules, a motion to reconsider requires a four to one vote to reverse the previous decision. Nation’s motion failed two to three with Nation and Mayor Pay supporting it. Later, Nation and newly-elected Commissioner Jack Proctor attempted again to get the commission to reconsider this issue. Both attempts were also defeated.
The article states that the Magnet received a copy of the letter from the state from Commissioner Beverly Ingram. She is very much aware of the facts I have outlined above as she was a voting commissioner on each of the change requests and in fact submitted one of the approved requests on her own behalf.
My point is that had the city supported this request for change as it did for all the others, there would be no cost issues relative to the drive at the 95 E. Main St. business now. To suggest that this issue is somehow now outside the control of the city is simply disingenuous. It was their votes that created the current situation.
Editor’s note: Many, if not all, of the contextual points noted in the above letter were previously reported by The Magnet, although all of the information did not appear specifically in the article, “City cannot use Main Street funds for road access.”