Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"State Of The City' Report Issued By Mayor Will Hill

December 21, 2016
RE: State of the City of Louisville, 2016 in Review
Greetings:
The holidays are upon us and another year is coming to a close. As we reflect on 2016, please allow me to provide an update on projects in the City of Louisville by addressing most frequently asked questions. We have been through a lot over the past few years, including the economic downturn of the recession and a natural disaster of historic proportion. It is you, the people of this community, who have been resilient proving when we come together as a community we can achieve great things. The hardships did not break the community spirit, it defined our community. We have learned with hardships come opportunities and with opportunities comes planning, action, and the difficult one, patience. Many projects of historical significance are underway in the City of Louisville. History is not only what we know of the past but what we create today for future generations. Project planning has been an integral part of our recovery over the past couple of years and the action to perform projects requires the appropriate approvals from Federal and State government partners. The process requires patience, furthermore the City of Louisville must be financially positioned to fund the project(s) because the assistance provided is in the form of reimbursement.
The following are project updates and most FAQ's:

·       Winston Plywood & Veneer: Continue to work closely with the company to complete the rebuild of the city owned facility, WP&V currently employs approximately 300; the direct and indirect employment numbers will continue to grow. Public & private investment in excess of $100 million. We are grateful for this partnership and boost to our economy.  When will streets be repaired/paved?: The City of Louisville, with the cooperation of MEMA & FEMA, have awarded the contract for one of the largest capital improvement projects in the history of the City of Louisville and "notice to proceed" was issued to the contractor, November 15, 2016. Limited work will be performed for drainage and base repairs throughout the City during the winter months. Due to timing of approval the repairs/paving will be delayed until we have warmer temperatures. This project is a priority and we respectfully request all citizens to continue to be patient. This project would not be possible without the cooperation of MEMA & FEMA, therefore the approvals were necessary otherwise the City would not be able to repair infrastructure.
Project details; 27 drainage improvement sites; 60 streets; budget $4.9 million
·       What is the status of the cemetery, will there be repairs?: YES, the construction of the Memorial Courtyard was funded by the community in an effort to achieve this project by the one year anniversary date of the disaster. The remaining design and work to be done for the cemetery must be approved by FEMA. We continue to work towards the final design approval in order to advertise the project for construction. Any work performed without the proper approvals will NOT be eligible for reimbursement.
·       What is the status of the park projects, both Ivy and Academy Park? : The City of Louisville acquired 8.5 acres of property adjacent to Ivy Park, including the former Assembly of God Church building. The master plan design for the Ivy Park expansion and renovation is in the final stages, in cooperation with East Central Community College and the Louisville Municipal School District. The master plan will be available for review in the very near future and the budgets will determine the number of phases in this project.
Academy Park sustained damage from the tornado on April 28, 2014, and as a result was eligible for a claim through the City's blanket insurance coverage and was also reviewed by FEMA as eligible activity along with the cemetery and communications tower damage. The City opted to participate in the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Act which is a pilot program for alternate procedures, this created an opportunity for the City to achieve much more than imagined. Although this has been explained on several occasions, concerns have been expressed of Academy Park. There should NOT be any concern over the future of Academy Park or potential enhancements. Project planning, priority of needs, and cash flow have been drivers for all projects, hence we again ask for patience as we strive to get optimum use of funds available to the City of Louisville.
·       Is the City building a community saferoom?: Yes, we continue to work with MEMA and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) on our eligibility and approval to construct a community saferoom (dome). The City was initially awarded grant approval ofjust over $3 million for this purpose. The City continues through the processes of property acquisition and design approval with Federal and State partners. We anticipate more news on this project early in 2017 and hope to be in construction in 2017.
·       Does the City owe money to FEMA, what about the news story and the audit? : No, the City of Louisville does not owe FEMA. We have worked closely with FEMA & MEMA officials to insure a successful recovery. Winston Plywood & Veneer's facility would not be a reality without the synergy of Federal, State, & Local government working together.
Other Project Updates:
·       New landfill cell is under construction
·       Awaiting final approval of FEMA/MEMA to purchase traffic signals to be installed throughout the City of Louisville (4 intersections and proposed armed-mast traffic signals)   Central business district and sidewalk repairs will be after the street and drainage project, engineering design must be completed
·       Industrial property development and designs are ongoing and include future use of the former
American Creosite site (aka: EPA Superfund site) and former Jake's operation located on Railroad Avenue. The Railroad Avenue will reopen upon completion of the street reconstruction in the earlier mentioned street & drainage project.
·       Strand Theater acquisition and renovation plans continue, yet is delayed only by project planning, priority of needs, and cash flow.
·       Years of work led to adopting and implementing the following tools in 2016:
Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance, Zoning Map, and other useful maps

As you can see, your Louisville is on the move with much on the board to achieve. My hope is you are encouraged by this update. We continue to work hard and look forward to a prosperous 2017 as we celebrate Winston Plywood & Veneer's formal grand opening some time to be determined and as we realize the dream of a new Winston Medical Center in the Spring of 2017. May we continue with energy, optimism, and resiliency to create a better community, our home.

Mayor, City of Louisville