Important topics and priorities at city commission
Juggling many hats here at the newspaper single-handed is a large task in itself when it comes to a county the size of Jessamine. With so many meetings, over a dozen public schools and several community events, I have often said since arriving at The Jessamine Journal this newspaper could easily be a daily with the right staff and community support.
With that, it is not often I have a helping hand. Although this summer I was lucky enough to find one in an intern provided by the Kentucky Press Association who hailed from right here in Jessamine County.
Since she was eager to get her feet wet, and I was ready for a tiny break, I threw her into city and county meetings and events that overfilled her schedule easily. There is no better way to learn than getting thrown into the fire, something I find myself embracing still as this job leads me to new topics to cover daily.
For example, this week I returned to a Nicholasville City Commission meeting for one of the first times since Olivia, our intern, came to work with us earlier this summer.
Trying to get caught back up to speed with everything since my absence, it was nice to be sitting in the audience and “be in the know” of the happenings around town.
I am sure my face looked comical at times for those in attendance to look at. I found myself dumbfounded on several topics and issues as I wondered how one was more important than the other or why the city was focusing attention on one thing, when it seems it should reevaluate the importance of possibly multiple agenda items.
I have spoken out about this before, but once again found myself overhearing a conversation about the Performance Park in downtown and the city’s plan for concerts in the coming weeks, a topic which will be covered in an article in next week’s newspaper for those who wish to read.
Let me clear the air, I do not think the “idea” of the performance park is or was a bad idea, more so the location and the intense interest in it by some of those who sit on the council.
Tourism and bringing people downtown are much needed. I would much rather walk through a downtown like Nicholasville than one like Lexington and pop in and out of shops, maybe walk through a couple street fairs if they are happening and see the local farmer’s market any day.
The problem I have is the logistics. Anyone would wonder the same while sitting in the meeting Monday and hearing a long conversation about the possibility of setting up a stage, lights, vendors, marking off shops for maybe a street crawl for those who wish to do more and the long debate of what band to hire.
While I sat listening, the obvious question came to mind: Where are you going to put it all?
Even if downtown Nicholas-ville had a parking garage there would still not be enough for the crowd needed to sustain such an event.
Also, once you set up a stage and hired some vendors, where would people even stand to enjoy the show if say you did manage to draw the crowd you were expecting and wishing for? The city no doubt would need traffic control from local sheriff’s departments and police. And do those departments have the staff available? Not to mention the havoc it would wreak on the traffic in downtown which is already busting at the seams and borderline out of control on normal days.
Through all of this, you could see the commissioner’s heads were spinning on how to pull it off and put it together, much like mine was. A great idea, but maybe not easily executed. As they talked about how to get the word out, many platforms were mentioned to partner with — except their local newspaper.
As the conversation came to a close, a gentlemen took the stand for agenda item two to discuss the alleged illegal policy the city passed concerning concealed weapons on city property, a story you can read on page A1. I was amazed when the gentlemen told the commission he had been trying to contact them for more than six weeks to discuss and fix the issue. What surprised me even more was the way he was quickly hushed up and excused from his position at the stand by the council.
This caused me to weigh the importance of both topics, and as the meeting ended and the gentlemen in question still spoke out stating the city council did not correctly fix the issue and was still in violation of the law, it made me debate internally where the Nicholasville City Commission’s priorities lie.
Walking away, I concluded it will all get worked out through future meetings for no other reason than it has to. Regardless, I will be in the audience waiting to see if it does.
Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.