Pineville applies for $1 million ARC grant

Published 12:50 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

By Jay Compton

jay.compton@middlesboronews.com

Plans to move forward with the Courthouse Square streetscape project were discussed on Thursday during a special called meeting of the Pineville City Council. Mayor Scott Madon shared that bids for the project had come in at $3.6 million, which was about $1.4 million over budget.

“I was a little shocked with how high those bids came in,” he said. “We have applied with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for up to $1 million in an additional grant at their suggestion. We should know the outcome of that by mid-February.”

Madon said he has also applied for a $1.4 million grant from the state as a contingency. After speaking with State Rep. Adam Bowling and Sen. Robert Stivers he was assured the funds would be included in the state’s budget if the ARC grant didn’t come through.

The mayor also said if the city was assured more funding was coming for the project he would see if the ARC would allow them to borrow the money and then reimburse the bank when the grant funds are available.

Madon and Pineville Utility Commission manager Robert Roan will be meeting with the engineers on the project on Thursday at 10 a.m. to discuss ways to cut the project and set priorities in case the new funding options don’t come through. He invited any members of the City Council to attend that meeting.

“We’re looking for every way possible to try and reduce the costs. If you all told me today that we had to start on the project right now, we could take out the brick and that alone would save about $1.3 million,” Madon said. ‘But the blacktop plant won’t be open again until April so I think we need to wait and see what happens.”

Council member Alicia Slusher asked when the work could start on the project if the funding was approved.

Madon said if the ARC grant is approved in mid-February, it would take 21 days to re-bid the project so the earliest work could start would be late March or early April.

“It’s just a long process and I hate it,” he said. “There are a lot of moving parts and we’ll know a lot more after the ARC makes their announcement in February.”

The council also approved a resolution authorizing the submission of an application for grant funds to purchase tasers for the Pineville Police Department. The total cost for new tasers is $31,848 and the Department of Homeland Security grant will fund 80-percent of that, leaving the city to owe just over $6200.

Madon said the city had applied for a grant from the state through House Bill 9 for that $6,000 and that Hollingsworth had an offer of $2,000 for the department’s 15-year-old tasers.

“At the most, the city would be looking at paying around $4,000 for all new tasers,” he said. “We’ve been encouraged to apply for those House Bill 9 funds, which is money the state has set aside to match to those federal funds. So we could be out zero if that comes through.”

Madon praised Police Chief Brandon Hollingsworth for efforts with Shop With A Cop.

“He raised $27,000, spent $23,000 and were able to give every kid in the Pineville Housing Authority a toy and a bag of fruit,” he said. “They served over 420 families. Plus Officer Kyle Dunn was able to hand out 20 turkeys that were given to us one Saturday afternoon.

“Brandon takes a lot of pride in our Shop With A Cop and that was a big success this year.”

In a separate matter, Madon shared a letter he has received from the Bell County Historical Society requesting $1300 to purchase a sign. He added that Steve Cawed and Sharon Goodin had also spoken to him on behalf of the society.

“That facility is located in Middlesboro but they hold a lot of Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival stuff, and the items that were in the time capsule from the courthouse that we opened a few years ago,” he said.

Madon said he asked what other local governments had contributed to the Historical Society and was told the Fiscal Court would be providing $5200 to publish their magazine and that the City of Middlesboro takes care of the maintenance of the building.

He said the city could take the money from their restaurant tax funds because it does involve tourism and a motion to pay for the sign was approved unanimously.

Construction to expand the Pineville Fire Department to house a new 100-foot ladder truck and add a room for training is nearly completed. The council will hold their regular meeting in February at the Fire Department and tour the new facility.