Middlesboro receives $125,000 to repair 15th Street

Published 4:00 pm Monday, June 24, 2019

Middlesboro has received $125,000 discretionary funds to repair 15th Street. Mayor Rick Nelson, Representative Adam Bowling and Commissioner of Rural Roads Gray Tomblyn held a press conference at Middlesboro City Hall to make the announcement Monday.

“We’ve had an issue with heavy trucks on there,” Nelson explained. “It’s tore up our road and it’s in real bad shape. The commissioner and Governor (Matt) Bevin have graciously agreed to give us the amount of $125,000 to repave.”

“This is a project that is much needed in our town and for our county,” Bowling reiterated. “Since our truck route got taken out on 19th Street due to a weight issue on the bridge, trucks have been using all different routes to get in and out of Middlesboro, and they have been using is 15th Street and it’s tore the road up. Hopefully this will go a long way to fixing that for the citizens of Middlesboro.”

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Commissioner of Rural Roads Tomblyn is glad the Commonwealth was able to provide Middlesboro with the money.

“I know the mayor and representative know that at the local level we are cash strapped,” Tomblyn explained. “We have limited funding at the state level, so we have to maximize and prioritize with the money that we do have.”

“Special thanks to Mayor Nelson. He’s been great and obviously he sat in the chair that I now sit in for 18 years, and he knows the lay of the land in Frankfort,” Bowling explained. “Because of that, he was able to get this project done and we thank him and the council very much.”

Bowling thanks Commissioner Tomblyn for being there for the announcement.

“Mr. Tomblyn thank you again and please pass on our thanks to Governor Bevin,” Bowling said. “We realize this is discretionary monies that he has to sign off on, and we really do appreciate that and thank you for that.”

Mayor Nelson took a moment during the presentation to also thank Governor Bevin and explain to the citizens what discretionary money is.

“Discretionary money is money you have to ask for,” he explained. “Commissioner Tomblyn had a big part in taking this to Governor Bevin and he had to sign off on it. We are very thankful for both of these gentlemen that they were gracious enough to help up with this amount of money which will really help 15th Street.”

Tomblyn continued to explain that he and Mayor Nelson have talked no less than 15 times about some infrastructure needs within the city.

“Governor Bevin has set aside about 10 to 15-million dollars of discretionary for what we call START: Small Towns and Rural Transportation Initiative,” said Tombyln. “Because all over the commonwealth there are cities in the same financial condition, you know, cash strapped and there is a lot of needs, and it’s up to us to try to maximize those funds to help address those needs.”

Nelson explained that 15th Street is more or less the bypass for Middlesboro.

“People come off the mall area and off Kroger, so it’s a big deal,” he said.

“Just think there are some people out there that think that $125,000 for Middlesboro isn’t that big of a deal but it is, it is a big deal,” Tomblyn stated. “There’s an infrastructure need that Mayor Nelson brought to my attention. It’s a big deal to all of you, it’s a big deal to me, and it’s certainly a big deal to Governor Bevin. I’m just glad we were able to provide some funding to help address this issue.”

Nelson also announced that a plan is in works to fix the truck traffic issues off Salisbury Avenue.

“We are close to being able to do that and if we can, it would help the citizens along that way,” Nelson said.

Also present during the announcement was Council Lady Glynna Brown, Councilman Alan Farmer, Councilman Bill Smith, Magistrate Glenn Webb, and Rob Lincks — who was representing the Bell County Judge-Executive’s office.