HAZARD—Hazard-Perry County Chamber of Commerce members and other local community members gathered in the council chamber of Hazard City Hall Tuesday morning for the chamber’s monthly meeting, and to hear Mayor Nan Gorman’s state of the city address.
“I wanted to give you a view of what the city has been doing in the last few months, and being you up to date because it’s important that you know we aren’t just sitting down here doing nothing,” Gorman started the report to chamber off with a laugh.
Gorman touched on multiple issues and projects in the city, but put most of her focus on water services.
“As you’ve noticed, probably, the city has been doing a lot of work in the Kentucky River up at the water plant, and a lot of people have questioned what we are doing,” she said.
The project Gorman was referring to is the multi-million dollar Hazard Water Systems Improvements Project, which was funded through multiple grants and loans to the city.
“There are a lot of things to be corrected with the water,” Gorman said. ” As you know, our plant was built when Hazard was just a village, and we’ve taken on the whole county. Ninety-five percent of this county gets city water, that’s pretty remarkable, that’s amazing, in fact.”
Gorman explained that the project would improve and bring up-to-date the water system, including adding an intake pipe and an emergency intake pipe, building more booster stations, and installing new electronic variable controls, something that would help save the city from losing water due to leaks in situations like the abnormally cold winter the area experienced in January and February.
“We had to go out when we knew there was a leak, but we didn’t know where it was. Now, we’re going to have an electrical device that comes right into the water plant and tells us where it is. This is going to be a big help,” Gorman said.
Gorman said on average, 15-20 percent of the water pumped by the water system is lost due to leaks across the county, adding that another water plant in the county would be necessary in the future to help alleviate some of the burden from the city’s plant.
Gorman spoke highly of the former City Manager Carlos Combs, saying that his last project, which he wasn’t able to finish before leaving his position, would be completed under the leadership of new City Manager Grady Varney.
“At times we have run out of energy at the hospital,” Gorman said.
To correct this, she continued, the city plans to have another gas line running to the hospital.
Another major issue Gorman addressed concerned the city’s facade, and the 42 run down buildings in town.
“We hope to clean up the city streets and do away with some of the down-run buildings and things,” she said. “We have ordinances and we have laws, but they have not been carried out. We need to tear out and do what we intend to do with these places that are run down.”
Gorman said suggestions have been made to assign groups to specific streets to take care of and clean up those streets.
Gorman touched on a topic of heated discussion in the Hazard area of late, the newly emptied and repainted McDonald’s building on East Main Street.
“I know that you all wonder about McDonald’s—I can’t tell you a thing, I’m sorry,” she said, stirring up many laughs from the crowd.
The city will be getting rid of the last of the trolleys soon, Gorman said, something that will be more of a positive than a negative in terms of funding the trolleys and paying insurance for them.
Gorman closed her report on a positive note, citing improvement projects that are under way in the city, including the River Walk Green Way, the artisan center on Main Street, and the possible renovation of the old Engle Florist shop.
“It’s always good that Hazard has citizens to keep the spirit of enthusiasm and progress alive.,” she said.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.