By Sam Terry
Members of the Glasgow City Council are looking to the community for suggestions about the future of the city’s Water Street tunnel. The tunnel was the focus of the city’s Infrastructure Committee last week when Joe Plunk, the new Chief District Engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, discussed various options for replacement, repair, or restoration.
The tunnel was closed by the Transportation Cabinet in April 2014 after it was deemed unsafe. Prior to that, the Cabinet warned city officials of the deteriorating condition of the stone structure on multiple occasions. When stones in the tunnel began crumbling, it was deemed unsafe for vehicles or pedestrians to pass through.
Built in 1914, the divided, two-lane tunnel beneath North Race Street has become an
icon of the community for generations of Barren County residents. For decades, drivers merrily sounded their horn while traveling through the narrow passageways and in more recent years, the rustic stone entrances have been favored backdrops for photographs.
One of the most unusual features of the Water Street tunnel is its very existence. Resting on top of the tunnel is North Race Street and the structure on the street level is possible because of a 99-year deed for the airspace below it. For many years, the buildings were part of Mitchell Enterprises. The 99-year agreement will expire in a decade.
For decades, the tunnel has been repeatedly damaged by drivers attempting to travel through in vehicles too large to fit through the narrow passageways.
Ideally, safety officials would like to see the tunnel rebuilt and brought up to modern standards. The notion of a complete replacement has been shunned by some city officials and the public in the past but as Plunk pointed out, the issue must be addressed. A prime concern is how the repair, restoration, or replacement might be funded with multiple scenarios determined by what local leaders decide to do.
Mayor Dick Doty asked City Council members to gather feedback from Glasgow residents as a guide in deciding the future of the tunnel.
The Council gave unanimous approval to second and final reading of an ordinance relating to social hosts and the consumption of alcohol by minors.
The Council also unanimously passed the second and final reading of two ordinances rezoning property in Glasgow. A 7.485-acre tract on Beaver Trail and the Veterans Outer Loop was rezoned from Agricultural to Light Industrial. A 10.242 tract on Trojan Trail was rezoned from R-1 Low Density Residential to Agricultural.
K-9 Unit Retires
The Council approved a resolution essentially retiring a male German Shepherd dog from it K-9 program. “Cane” is now 7 years old and no longer able to carry out the necessary functions for the K-9 program which has other dogs to meet the needs of the department.
“Cane” was declared “surplus property” and ownership of the dog was given to his handler, Officer Joey Judd.
The Council approved the following re-appointments:
- Fred Miller was re-appointed to the Airport Board for a 4-year term.
- John Rogers was re-appointed to the Housing Authority of Glasgow Board for a 4-year term.
- Freddie Joe Wilkerson as re-appointed as an ex-officio member of the Veterans Wall of Honor Standing Committee for a 3 year term.
The Council also approved two grant applications to be submitted to the Kentucky Pride Fund. One application seeks a $360,000 grant for the purchase of a high-speed grinder for the City’s composting program; if successful, the City’s in-kind match would be $90,000. The second application seeks $7,500 for the purchase of 40’ metal storage containers for the City’s recycling program; if successful, the City’s in-kind match would be $1,875.