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What's to Come of the Taylor Mill Volunteer Fire Department Building?

The Taylor Mill Volunteer Fire Department building on Winston Avenue near the city's border with Covington is expected to be sold.

Its future is of concern to residents on Church Street who live next to and behind the property at 4700 Winston Avenue. 

Some residents came to the recent Taylor Mill city commission meeting to express their concerns, noting a rumor that a liquor store was planning to move in.

Taylor Mill has a regular fire department, and the volunteer service only has three members and the volunteer department has virtually folded.

One nearby liquor store approached the City of Taylor Mill about locating at the site.

Mayor Dan Bell explained that the city asked Planning and Development Services of Kenton County whether it could change the building's zoning from residential to neighborhood commercial. PDS staff, Bell said, told the city that the property does not meet the requirements for such a change and would likely not be approved.

Bell said the building is in bad shape and needs a new HVAC system. It has two bays for trucks, and was appraised at $80,000.

The surrounding area has ten conditional uses according to the zoning code, including a church, a school, a cemetery, and a funeral home.

It is owned by the volunteer fire department. It was originally deeded to the former Winston Park Volunteer Fire Department in 1951.

Bell told the concerned residents that they would be protected for fire service, since the city's fire department, housed on Taylor Mill Road behind the city building, can arrive quickly to Church Street, and because Covington also has a nearby firehouse.

The building has one truck left inside that will likely be sold, too.

Bell said if the property and truck are sold, and the remaining members of the volunteer department want to donate the money to the city, Taylor Mill would buy a mini-pumper to serve its residents.

In other business, the city commission revisited the costs to rent Park Place, the city-owned event space at Pride Park.

Commissioner Caroline Braden came up with a list of proposed changes with help from other members of the commission and city administrator Brian Haney.

At a previous meeting, it was argued that the space does not bring in enough rent revenue and is possibly not charging enough when compared to similar municipal offerings in the region.

Braden suggested increasing the rent $50 across the board and to increase the deposit from $100 to $200. Third, Braden suggested that a rental contract should be drawn up to better ensure expectations and compliance.

Haney said he could do that by using Edgewood's contract for its city event spaces.

Fourth, a holiday rental schedule would be drawn up so that public works staff won't have to work overtime on holidays to clean up.

Fifth, an alternative cleaning company or individual could be contracted so city personnel won't have to do it.

The rental prices would also be changed to apply to residents and city businesses and organizations, and others. Empliyees would receive one discounted rate per year.

Any event that lasts longer than eight hours would require an additional $100.

Commissioner Mark Kreimborg said that he didn't want to cut out city volunteers from the discounted list. Haney argued that some city volunteers were taking advantage of the discounted rate.

Kreimborg also expressed concern about pricing the space out of the market for regular families. He said people with young kids have a hard time affording the center now.

Braden conceded that when her kids were younger, she, too, would have been unable to afford the rent.

But, the property must break even, she said.

Kreimborg said the city is virtually debt-free and the rent should stay the same, though he agreed that an outside entity should be hired to clean up.

The changes were adopted by the city commission by a vote of 4-1, with Kreimborg dissenting.

The issue will be revisited later in the year.

Other notes:

The City of Taylor Mill joined the City of Independence and Kenton County to apply for a federal grant valued at $150 million to widen Kentucky 536 so that it becomes an east-west connector through Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties.

Bell noted a meeting is set for July 29 relating to repairs to Wolf Road that will include city officials from Taylor Mill, Covington, and officials from Kenton County so that an agreement can be made on who needs to take care of the road.

Streets added to the city's repair list: Sunset Drive, Janet Drive, Allen Court, Mafred Drive, and High Ridge Drive will mostly have milling and overlays done, and a few other repairs.  

There will be an Abracadabra Children's event on July 29 at Pride Park from 10 a.m. to noon. Space is limited and registration is required.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Photo via Kenton County PVA