Harlan mayor addresses chamber of commerce

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, February 16, 2023

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The Harlan County Chamber of Commerce heard a presentation from Harlan Mayor Joe Meadors during the Chamber’s February meeting last Wednesday.

Meadors addressed the group during a lunchtime meeting, updating the group on multiple ongoing projects.

“The Harlan Municipal Water Works is a semi-autonomous part of Harlan city government,” Meadors said. “It serves far more customers outside the city limits than it does inside the city. They’re in the midst of a $3 million to $3.5 million improvement plan for their water facility.”

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According to Meadors, the funds are earmarked for multiple improvements.

“Part of it is to paint the main water storage tank,” Meadors said. “They’re also going to renovate the entire water treatment system. They’re going to replace some problematic water lines and valves throughout the city.”

The city recently received a $1.7 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for replacing the main sewer line from Harlan to Baxter, Meadors told the Chamber.

“We’ll get started on that probably in late fall or early next spring,” Meadors said.

Meadors also talked about Harlan Community Television, stating the service operates outside the city extending into areas such as Evarts, Holmes Mill, and Cranks.

“That’s for television, internet and telephone,” Meadors said.

Meadors noted that the Harlan County Brewing Company expects to begin serving its own brew soon.

“The Harlan County Brewing Company has hired a brewmaster,” Meadors said. “They’ve hired a Harlan Countian…They sent him for a little training. Hopefully, they’ll have some beer brewed locally at the end of March.”

He mentioned that the Harlan County Brewing Company is already a popular attraction.

“I’ve been in there sometimes when you have to wait 30 or 40 minutes to get a seat,” Meadors said. “People seem to be responding. We’re getting a lot of out-of-town visitors going in there and eating, which is good. We want to attract visitors.”

Meadors advised that the former Belks building is currently undergoing construction work. He said an additional downtown building located on First Street across the street from the Harlan County Courthouse is expected to begin renovations in approximately two weeks.

“That will be another building that will soon be occupied,” Meadors said.

Meadors also touched on the possibility of a new hotel.

“The hotel feasibility study has been completed,” Meadors said. “There’s a fellow – he’s not a native of Harlan County, but he’s living here now – he is interested in putting a motel in.”

Meadors then brought up a subject that has been the topic of much debate in the city, a roundabout the state installed at the intersection of KY 72 and KY 38.

“Good news, the roundabout works,” Meadors said. “I think we’ve had three minor incidents there.”

Meadors mentioned a representative speaking at a previous Chamber meeting stating more accidents were expected at a roundabout than at a standard intersection.

“They knew there were probably going to be more accidents, but they were going to be less severe, with less bodily harm and vehicle damage,” Meadors said. “That’s proven true.”

Following some further discussion, the meeting was adjourned.

The Harlan County Chamber of Commerce meets at noon on the second Wednesday of every month.