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Harlan board adopts Georgetown Bridge resolution

Harlan Independent Board of Education members had a healthy conversation on Wednesday night during a special-called meeting regarding the Georgetown Bridge project before adopting a resolution for its construction.

Before getting to the resolution, board members welcomed Cindy Allison — who ran unopposed in the November general election for a place on the board. Allison took her oath of office before taking a seat among the members to continue with the meeting.

Harlan Superintendent C.D. Morton opened the discussion, informing members that their resolution falls in close resemblance to the Harlan City Council members’ resolution for the Georgetown Bridge.

“Just to give you a little background, there is a hope that at some point the Georgetown Bridge would be, at the very least repaired, at best demolished and rebuilt,” Morton said. “I think in conjunction with Leo Miller and the (Harlan) mayor (Joseph Meadors), we have knowledge that the flood gates were positioned because the original plan called for the bridge to be put straight across there. That makes the most sense.”

Morton said the bridge is currently in the flood plain and, by raising it another 15 feet to where it “should be,” the construction would bring it out of flooding dangers.

“If you’re going to come back and do some major work, I think it makes sense to put that bridge where it needs to be,” he added.

Morton then read aloud the resolution, which states, “We hereby request that the proposed replacement of the Georgetown Bridge, which leads to the Harlan Independent School District’s athletic complex and adjacent residents, be moved from its present location to the site where the double roadway flood gates are located. It was the intent of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control Project at that time to move the double roadway flood gates to a site more suitable for the replacement of the Georgetown Bridge. To construct the Georgetown Bridge replacement at its old location would continue to create flooding issues and traffic congestion.”

Morton said he wanted to convey that “we will take something” as opposed to the project not being dealt with.

“If you’re not going to move it, help us work with you to get a suitable repair done to what we have,” Morton said. “I think the city’s telling them to move this thing and that makes sense.”

The official resolution from the board will be sent to city officials to be included in the information sent to the representatives who will decide the next steps for the bridge project.

The board also:

• Heard an update on the 21st Century program;

• Heard an update on Harlan Elementary test scores and overall performance;

• Heard an update on school tax collections;

• Took no action on the personnel report;

• Began looking at the 2020-21 school calendar;

• Approved the amended extra-curricular salaries;

• Approved the monthly financial report;

• Approved the consent agenda, including meeting minutes, payment of bills, treasurer’s report, attendance/enrollment report and FRYSC service report;

• Scheduled a work session for Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m. regarding the Phase II construction project.