Commonwealth Journal

September 29, 2011

Good News at Eubank

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Eubank — A cook’s tour of Eubank with Mayor Frey Todd uncovered both good and bad news; much more good than bad.

Let’s get bad news out of way first:

Some folks, probably out-of-towners, have no respect for Eubank’s pristine recycling receptacle at Eubank Community Park and have used it to get rid of household garbage.

“They (Pulaski County Recycling Center) told us they were going to move it if the garbage dumping didn’t stop,” related Todd. “We spread the word that we were going to lose the recycling container and then asked the county to take it away while we blacktopped a parking lot (for Eubank Community Park).”

“Now the recycling bin is back. It’s on the northwest end of the newly paved parking lot with 168 marked spaces, and a lot of people are using it,” the mayor said. “I think taking it away for a week made people realize we could lose it,” reasoned Todd.

Good news at Eubank far outweighs the bad. There is an impressive list of accomplishments including the near completion of an expansion and upgrading of municipally owned Eubank Water System; transformation of an old, run-down skating rink building into a fabulous senior citizens center; and a community park that is second to none.

Todd, the only mayor Eubank has ever had, has seen it all.

“We started the original water system 40 years ago,” reflected Todd. “I never thought I’d be here long enough to see (the original 40-year loan) paid ... but we made the last payment this past January.”

Actually, the water system was part of the reason Todd became head of Eubank city government.

“I’d been on the town board since 1963,” Todd related. “Jesse Griffin was chairman of the town board. Jesse took the job as manager of the water company and resigned from the town board. I took his place as chairman.”

Todd remembers as if it were yesterday members of the town board when the water company was formed: Matthew Bastin, Ervin Buis, Jesse Griffin and Herbert Todd, all of whom might be called founding fathers of one of the most successful water systems in this part of the state. Herbert Todd, who also served as county judge, was Frey’s father.

“They are all gone except me,” said Todd, a tone of sadness in his voice.

Todd assumed the title of mayor in 1982 when the General Assembly re-structured city governments, designating town boards in 6th Class cities as “commissions” and town board members as “commissioners.” Todd has been elected mayor every four years since, and he probably has earned the honorary title, “Mayor for Life.” He never mentions stepping down.

“I’m hoping to be around to see this 40-year loan paid,” Todd laughed. He was alluding to the current 40-year loan the city made from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency to pay its share of a nearly $4 million water project.

 Water system improvements include installation of a 12-inch water main from the south side of Eubank north to the Highlands community in Lincoln County; upgrading of three pump stations; and construction of a 500,000-gallon storage tank.

Todd said the 12-inch water main replaced 6-inch and 8-inch mains “ ... that have caused us so much trouble.” The new water main extends to the area in Highlands “ ... where the water tanks are located,” the mayor said.

Each pumping station got two new pumps, replacing existing pumps. The pumping stations are located north of Somerset near Paul’s Discount; on Ky. 1247 south of Eubank “across from Jim Roy’s place;” and at Waynesburg. Somerset Water Service supplies Eubank Water System with treated water, pumped along U.S. 27. The water main from Somerset was replaced when U.S. 27 was expanded to four lanes.

Todd said the new water mains are in place, the pumping stations upgrades are complete, and within the next 30 days the new water tank will be ready for operation. The most recent expansion didn’t add new customers, but Eubank Water System serves nearly 5,000 customers in three counties –– Pulaski, Lincoln and Casey.

The renovated skating rink off Ky. 70 at the front of Eubank Community Park is a much-needed gathering place in the northern part of the county.

Eubank got a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to develop the senior citizens center. It took three bid openings, several downsizings of the planned project and negotiations with bidders before a successful contractor was found. Owens Construction Company of Windsor in Casey County finally agreed to a $426,000 contract to renovate the structure.

Todd is pleased as punch with the finished product that opened last December. He wishes it had been as originally planned, without downsizing, but agrees the project turned out pretty well.

Jennifer Summers has been named volunteer director of the center, open to seniors Monday through Friday and rented on weekends for special occasions. “We use rental fees for a little income,” said Todd.

Eubank Senior Citizens Center is a complement to Eubank Community Park, a 30-acre oasis with five always-busy picnic shelter houses. “We bought land for the park, piece at a time. It’s paid for; we don’t owe a penny on it,” offered the mayor.

Buis Appliance and Furniture Company on Eubank’s Main Street has made popular a slogan, “All roads lead to Eubank,” and it’s true. Four-laning U.S. 27 from Somerset to Eubank has made it a 15-minute drive between the two towns, and realigning of Ky. 70 eliminated traffic snarls all over Eubank.

The new section of Ky. 70 extends westerly from the intersection with Ky. 1247 in southern Eubank. From Ky. 1247, the new road is a modest incline to and across the railroad overpass. Then it descends from the overpass and extends for about a half mile to existing Ky. 70 at Shady Lane. West Ridge Road has been realigned to enable traffic to access Ky. 70 and use the new overpass instead of the 4th Street tunnel.

Todd said the main attractions of living in Eubank are security and services.

“We have police protection, streetlights, fire protection, good stores and churches. Neighbors look out for one another,” he assured.

Eubank straddles the Pulaski-Lincoln county line. Most of the city’s approximately 350 residents live on the Pulaski County side but some 10 families reside in the section of town that juts into southern Lincoln County.

The small size of Eubank is hampering efforts to get a sewerage system.

“The biggest thing we need is a sewerage system,” Todd said earlier. The city has an active application for funds to build the system “ ... but we are not large enough,” Todd said. “We have engineers keeping our application up to date, but with the few customers we have the costs are so high we can’t get the funding in place.”

He expressed hope that improved roads will attract more people to Eubank and make a sewerage system a reality.

“We’re growing a little bit. “Meade Lane is a new street with about six new houses, and Bulldog Street leading to the new fire station has about four new, expensive homes,” Todd said.

 

Bill Mardis can be reached at bmardis@somerset-kentucky.com