Tony AMUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (1/16/20) — Mayor Tony Armour updated the community with his State of Central City address during the first Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce gathering recently. Powderly Mayor Bobby Creager also spoke during the event, saying the city has gained several new businesses recently.

Central City is gaining momentum with the annexation of Wendell H. Ford Training Center, is upgrading its infrastructure and taking care of flooding issues.

“I want you to know, I’m speaking on behalf of our city employees, we’ve come together this last year and achieved a lot of things. We’ve addressed flooding issues in Central City by working on 1.5 miles of creek. Within in a month and a half, we were able to get in the creek and clean it out. We’ve had no issues of flooding since then — this was a 30-year problem.”

Armour said the city is working on a $14 million project at the wastewater plant, and one-half mile of sidewalks have been replaced. Officials applied for grants and have funding recommendations to help with Cypress Creek. Next week, work begins on a 70-foot flagpole on the parkway that will display a 25-by-16-foot flag.

The mayor also noted the city acquired the State Highway Garage that offers a lot of property. The state walked away from that facility because of flooding and water issues. They have expanded the sewer system into Bremen by about a mile, which brings in more revenue. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has already begun work along U.S. 62 to widen the road to three lanes along with the addition of curbing and sidewalks.

Armour explained the city is replacing drain tiles along streets, adding that infrastructure is one thing the city and county has failed to keep up to date.

“If you don’t have a good infrastructure, you have got a failing community, because that’s what drives parts of the economy,” he said. “We have received a $300,000 grant for blacktop and will begin that project when the weather breaks. About 2 miles of blacktop has already been laid in the city last year. Recently, we gained the Presbyterian Church in Central City and are looking at turning it into a community center for the city.

The Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame has opened its doors as well. Muhlenberg County Magistrate Malcolm West said that it could possibly be available, but the city would have to go after it, saying they have, adding, “That wasn’t very popular in Owensboro, but we are coming after businesses and are going to get business in Central City.”

Some recent city purchases include three new police cars, a street sweeper, two new tractors, two new garbage trucks and a track hoe.

“Thirteen new businesses have opened in Central City because we have been promoting and trying to get businesses in town. It helps us all, it helps Muhlenberg County.” Armour said. “The biggest thing we’ve done this year is annexing Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, which is 13,000 acres. In doing so, our food tax, which has been pretty steady at $1.2 million, increased the first full month after annexing to 1.5 million and above ever since.”

When the city initially spoke to officials at Wendell H. Ford, they mentioned feeing “unwanted” in Muhlenberg County, Armour explained. “No one came out to support them and talk with them, so we went after trying to fix the problems. They let it be known they were sending their business to Madisonville. Part of our talks initially were that they spend their money in Muhlenberg County. They agreed to do that.”

Armour said the colonel delivered the papers to him, and two months later during a logistics meeting with the city along with the general and his staff, they informed the city they normally send 30,000 troops through WHFRTC each year. Starting this year, there will be approximately 175,000 troops passing through the site. In 2021, they have been approved for 330,000 troops.

“They wanted to get together with us and help us grow because they need more hotels and restaurants, and also a truck stop off the parkway,” the mayor said.

CreagerPowderly Mayor Bobby Creager rounded out the speakers for the day. Ever quick witted, and a phenomenal storyteller, Creager kept the audience laughing. He started his State of the City address with “Central City and Greenville got up here with all their numbers, I’ve just got that mile of road between their signs. I never was much of a politician, I worked in the coal mines as a heavy equipment operator.”

Creager said Powderly has many businesses, and most recently, Shoe Sensation, No Loose Ends, Bouncy B’s and Powderly Donuts opened.

“We are doing pretty good and have been able to upgrade quite a few things,” Creager said. “One thing I want to share with you is Paradise Park. It’s got the Merle Travis Birthplace in it. There is so much history in that park.”

Creager pitches in to help with some of the tours, noting some of the kids that visit the park “don’t even know what a lump of coal is. I try to tell them about the coal mining aspect. One of the kids asked what a warm morning stove was … one was curious about a typewriter, asking, ‘what does it do?’ I’m just blown away with that.”

The mayor plans to work on getting together sponsors to decorate Powderly next Christmas and possibly have a drive-thru like in larger cities.

Creager rounded out his talk with several antidotes that had the crowd laughing and leaving in good spirits. Other city officials also spoke during the event.

Next month’s Chamber meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 20.

Kathrine Newman Timmons

SurfKY News Reporter

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Ron Sanders, SurfKY News photos

 

 

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