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Park Hills to Explore Potentially Dangerous Trees, Pursue Fixes for Damaged Roads

The City of Park Hills hopes to clean up its tree situation.

At last week's city council caucus meeting, an ordinance presented for discussion would create an inventory of trees on public property and identify the ones that are dead or dying, or may present a danger.

The issue arose after a tree fell in Ft. Wright recently, killing one woman and seriously injuring another.

Todd McMurtry, who presented the ordinance, is the city attorney for Park Hills and Ft. Wright, which he said is also looking at a similar ordinance.

Once the inventory is completed, the city could then set a budget to address the worst ones.

McMurtry also told council that he thought it was a good idea to work with homeowners to identify their dead and dying trees, advising them that they should take care to remove those trees so that no one is hurt.

Council liked the idea, and the ordinance will probably be read at the next business meeting in November. Councilman Karl Oberjohn mentioned that he would like a regular report from the tree board so that everyone can be informed.

City exploring fixes for streets

Oberjohn also reported on city streets.

He told council that, to date, the city has rebuilt 19 streets with 13 more to go. 

Oberjohn outlined the options the city has to pay for the repairs. He said the general fund, the vehicle sticker fund, the general fund reserve, the restricted funds (under which is the the state-issued municipal road aid money), and the road tax, and finally the road loan, which the city hopes to pay off in 2028, are the avenues open to the city to pay for the repairs.

The next projects the city is looking to fix:

  • North Arlington, which is the last of the main artery streets, a project estimated at $696,00
  • Lower Jackson Road, which is estimated at $800,000. (Oberjohn mentioned that the city has been awarded a 50/50 matching grant by Sanitation District 1, which will save the city over $212,000 should they decide to accept it. The deadline for telling SD-1 if the city will accept the grant is December 3, and Oberjohn said he wanted council to make a decision on it by the November meeting so as not to wait until the last minute.

Oberjohn finished by saying his recommendations are to finish what they started, to determine the deep fix priorities, to vote on the grant, to do a pavement condition assessment, to involve the infrastructure committee in the financial planning, and to present more detailed loan and restricted fund information.

Other notes:

Mayor Matt Mattone explained a little more about what was holding up the Berling project, where new single-family homes are being constructed near Audubon Road. He said the project is currently under a Section 106 review, which includes a memoradum of agreement between the Kentucky Heritage Council and the Army Corps of Engineers. Mattone was told that any time an historic building is taken out there has to be a mitigation of loss, and a house was taken out to provide a gateway to the new development. Mattone said this process takes several months.

Kevin Theissen, a resident whose property abuts the new development, said it has been 14 months since this development first came to light. He said it has been a long journey and now it is going to continue for another two years.  He indicated how frustrating it is to have everything happen and not be able to control anything about the project.

Theissen said that he could control the stop signs that residents have been asking for.

"I could buy them on Amazon," he said, "but I am not going to go rogue."

Mayor Mattone said that the stop signs had been approved, and he asked public works director Dan VonHandorf to see if he could install them as soon as possible.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor