By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
Recent scattered showers are not nearly enough to pull Berea out of a high-alert water shortage, according to City Administrator Randy Stone.
He announced Tuesday to the city council that the Berea is now under drought conditions.
“I would like to call everyone’s attention to the need to conserve water,” he said. “It’s easier during the summer to ask people not to water their lawns and wash their cars,” he said. “Normally, in the summer months, (the water treatment plant) runs at about 3.1 to 3.3 million gallons. Today, we’re about 2.6 (million gallons) in our production of water.”
Customers of Berea Municipal Utilities and the Southern Madison Water District will be notified via mail about the importance of conserving water, Stone said.
The Owsley Fork Reservoir is one of the city’s largest sources of water.
“We are 12-feet down (at Owsley Fork),” Stone said. “We will pump down to 13 feet down and stop pumping. Without rain, this probably will happen within the next two weeks. We have 170 days of water remaining.”
“It’s extremely important for our utility customers to conserve water in any way,” he said. “Take shorter showers, do larger loads of laundry. And we’re asking our businesses to not hose down their parking lots.”
“It is not just a local problem,” said Berea Mayor Steve Connelly. “About 60 percent of the nation is in some kind of drought.”
In other business:
• The council adopted a resolution accepting a $1.05 million grant from the Kentucky Department of Transportation for work on Bratcher Lane. The improvements have been outlined in the state’s “2010 Highway Plan,” according to the resolution. The money is for “reimbursable funding for improvements to Bratcher Lane,” it reads.
Improvement in this area is something that has been in the works since 2003, according to Stone.
“With this resolution, we can ask for the release of funding,” he said.
The main hang-up since 2003 has been securing money for the project, which will include a two-lane road with sidewalk, curb and gutters. The improvements will stretch from Scaffold Cane Road to Bryan Avenue, Stone said.
• Katherine Grigg, a representative of Bereans For Fairness, addressed the council about what she said could have been an injustice to the organization during Berea’s Christmas Parade last weekend.
“As we walked through College Square, the (parade) announcer announced the float in front of us and the float behind us, but never acknowledged us when we walked through, even though I was told that someone from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth pointed out that he missed announcing us, but they didn’t announce us.”
Grigg said she contacted the Berea Chamber of Commerce (sponsor of the parade) and was told that “it was just an innocent mistake and that we weren’t targeted.”
“I’m sorry that you and your group had a bad experience,” Connelly said. “We will work to address the problem.”
“They had a list of where we were in the parade,” she said. “I was told that there were a couple of other groups (who were not announced).”
• The final reading of an ordinance was passed unanimously requiring “all persons, corporations, associations, restaurants, businesses, clubs or other entities licensed by the city for the sale of alcoholic beverages” to train their employees who would be serving the alcohol.
This ordinance was passed in case the Berea College Board of Trustees votes to officially allow alcohol sales at Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant. The board has not come to vote on the matter, Stone said.
• Approximately 18 acres of land needed to continue the expansion of the Berea Bypass will be annexed into city limits.
“The (State Highway) Cabinet has constructed the portion of the bypass from Interstate 75 to US 25, and plans to complete the construction of the Bypass from US 25 to KY 21,” the ordinance states. However, state funding for the remainder of the project has yet to be released. Property owned by Farristown Baptist Church, Berea Industrial Development Authority, Mina Mason Heirs, Edna and Howard White, Farristown Baptist Church Cemetery and Ned and Edna White also was annexed into city limits. • The zoning classification of property owned by the Federation of Appalachian House Enterprises (FAHE) at 103 Lewis Street will change the zoning from Industrial to Major Business.
• Berea Police Chief David Gregory and Berea Fire Chief Roy Curtis were given awards for their help in the Fourth-Annual Chili Cookoff that benefits Madison County Special Olympics.
The next meeting of the Berea City Council is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Berea Police and Municipal Building.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6608.