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Consultants, city discuss options

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Study to determine ways to improve downtown Milton, riverfront

By Phyllis McLaughlin

The Trimble Banner
The Milton City Commission has begun considering a proposal to build a bike and walking path that will connect the completed Milton-Madison Bridge with Milton’s City Park.

The proposal is part of the mitigation funds from the bridge project. These funds are in place as part of the project funding to help reduce any negative impact to Milton and Madison during construction of the replacement of the 81-year-old Ohio River span.
John Carr and Tim Sorenson of Wilbur Smith Associates met with the commissioners and Mayor Denny Jackson during the commission’s monthly meeting Thursday, Feb. 17.
Wilbur Smith, which was the consultant firm hired by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for the bridge project, was hired by KYTC to help Milton with this project, as well.
The goal for the project is to complete a walking path that can be accessed by pedestrians who cross the bridge from Madison.
Carr and Sorenson showed commissioners various ways the path could take visitors from the bridge to the city park, which is about a quarter mile west. One proposal was to bring pedestrians off the bridge past the BP, Subway, Jassy’s and the Dairy Queen, across Ferry Street and along the truck ramp and back to the park.
Another way was to bring pedestrians down Cooper’s Bottom and around to High Street, then along State Hwy. 36 to cross near the park.
Either of those scenarios, however, present safety concerns for pedestrians wanting to cross the two busy streets and Canip Creek, which also could be expensive.
With that in mind, Carr asked what the commissioners see as the future of the Milton waterfront. An alternative to connecting the bridge to the park, he said, could be for the city to purchase right-aways along the river and create a park or some attraction near the bridge.
Carr said the city may want to consider a riverwalk similar to Madison’s Vaughn Drive.
“It’s all about you,” Sorenson told commissioners. “We’re going to help you and guide you, but it’s what your vision is for Milton? How do we help you get to the next level?”
In addition to drawing up plans for the project, Wilbur Smith also will help the city apply to available funding sources to pay for it, Carr said. “Once the concept is established, we’ll help you apply for HUD funds, state funds, etc., to make it a reality.”
Commissioner Jerry Harmon pointed out that the city already owns the boat ramp and easements to the east all the way to where the Our Town Restaurant property sits. The city also owns other easements from the boat ramp and west under the bridge.
Getting additional easements to link the riverfront from west of the river and back to Our Town “would depend on the property owners,” Harmon said.
Tom Mahoney said his main concern about connecting the bridge to the park is safety. Commissioners also questioned if pedestrians would be interested in walking that far to the park.
Talks are to continue between the consultants and the city. In the meantime, residents interested in the project or with ideas about the best way to proceed are invited to call Jackson at the Municipal Building, (502) 268-5224.
In other business, the city passed it’s independent auditor’s report with flying colors. Karen Hardin, a certified public accountant from The Accounting Firm in Madison, Ind., gave the city an “unqualified” rating, which is the highest rating the city can have.
The audit found no instances of misstatement or noncompliance in the city’s books for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which ended June 30.