Sonic traffic flow fix coming: Commission votes to reverse direction of 12th

Oct. 15—ASHLAND — The Ashland City Commission unanimously voted Thursday to reverse the traffic flow of a street, in light of the new Sonic in downtown.

The commission voted to reverse the direction of 12th Street from north-to-south (from Greenup to Winchester) to south-to-north. The reversal is to relieve traffic pressures around the hopping hot dog (and more) stand that opened recently in downtown.

Commissioner Marty Gute, the unofficial food aficionado on the governing body, said the switch is "really needed."

"I got bumfuzzled trying to get out there and felt like Lewis and Clark trying to blaze a trail getting through that rough pavement," he said. "I lost my tater tots bumping along that road."

City Mike Graese said the pavement issue has been fixed as well.

The commission will meet Friday to finalize the traffic flow so the citizens of Ashland can circulate through the Sonic accordingly.

The bulk of the commission's agenda was dedicated to battling urban blight through the demolition of abandoned or blighted properties, by voting on a total of about $47,000 to enter into contracts to tear down seven abandoned properties throughout the city.

The city's demolition budget stands at $2.75 million this year, although the bulk of that is going into the teardown of the GB Johnson Building to make way for a convention center.

Graese updated the commission on the demolition numbers — so far, two have been completed, 11 are under contract, seven are pending approval and 14 properties are out to bid.

"Our worst-case scenario is having this completed by March," Graese said.

The GB Johnson building — the big enchilada in the realm of demolition — will have its bid close on Nov. 4, according to City Engineer Steve Cole. That means all the bids will have been submitted and are ready to be opened.

Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs said the push to complete the blighted properties demolition has gone well. She wanted to know how many are going down in East Ashland, a number Graese said he could get her after the meeting.

Gute said the demolitions in East Ashland are met with approval by the property owners. He then said he is "thankful for Dollar General."

"I know people talk about Dollar General, but those people needed a supermarket over there," Gute said. "It's like they got a Walmart now."

Mayor Matt Perkins agreed, stating that a lot of folks have transportation issues — having a Dollar General in walking distance is a gamechanger for them.

"I am appreciative of all investment in this city, including Dollar General," Perkins said.

Here are some other notes from the meeting:

—Commissioner Amanda Clark was absent.

—Commissioners Gute and Spriggs congratulated Scott Ball and Scott Wamsley for opening the Tomcat Bourbon and Brew House. Mayor Perkins said big things are coming to the south side thanks to those guys' investments.

—The commission established a no parking zone on Bath Avenue.

—No one mentioned the demolition of the Burger King, nor was the temporary loss of the King in downtown mentioned during public comments.

—The commission voted to allow for the establishment of a bus shelter out of King's Daughters doctor's office in Catlettsburg. After taking the vote, Perkins asked if there was any land for a bus shelter in South Ashland, to help support investment efforts down there.

—Approved a rates for the housing voucher program.

—At the end of the meeting, Perkins made a motion to adjourn, before being corrected that he had to motion to recess because they were meeting on Friday to pass that 12th Street ordinance. Commissioner Josh Blanton decided to talk about how the city has to get Christmas decorations out earlier because there are so many. The rest of the commission chimed in and the conversation meandered into chili and pickleball courts before Spriggs called a motion to recess.

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