Burnside zoom

A screenshot of the special-called Burnside City Council meeting this week held over Zoom. 

Walking can be an expensive business. But Burnside is moving closer to having the perfect place to take a scenic stroll. 

The Burnside City Council approved a resolution to seek an grant funding half of the $230,553 cost of the city's walking trail budget.

Burnside is planning to make an application to the Department of Local Government for assistance under the Land and Water Conversation Fund Act. The fund would provide a maximum of 50 percent of the project costs.

The resolution stated that Burnside would hold in reserve 50 percent of the costs to match the outside funding.

Burnside Mayor Robert Lawson noted that this is for the first phase of the project, which would construct a walking trail along West Lakeshore Drive, starting at the bridge. Additional work would take the trail on to Burnside Island.

Lawson noted that the city had already received around $100,000 from the administration of former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin to go toward the project.

Councilor Randy Berry inquired about the possibility that the project would go over budget, as has sometimes happened, and Lawson acknowledged that the cost "may be more by the time we get to it. We can't predict that." In that case, the city simply has to apply for more funding.

"You go back to your grant and ask for more money," said Lawson. "... That's the way you have to handle these grants."

The meeting was held remotely over Zoom videoconferencing technology.

Berry voted against the resolution.

The special-called meeting on Monday held one other item on the agenda, but it was a non-starter, despite the tantalizing topic: "Declaring Burnside a 'sanctuary city' from lockdown." 

Councilor Brandon Becker, who sought to approach the topic at the meeting, said he decided there was nothing to be gained by going ahead with trying to push for Burnside to be free from the heavy restrictions from the governor's office in regards to businesses being closed or reopening under certain conditions over concerns about the COVID-19 virus.

"Every larger government trumps the smaller government," he said during the meeting. "... I'm just getting a little aggravated with the businesses opening back up (in the current time frame)."

Responding to a question from the Commonwealth Journal, Becker said, "After some in depth research there isn't anything to be gained by having a sanctuary city from lockdown and would probably do more harm than good. The state laws always trumps the city laws.

"I can't stand the see these businesses starve to death and my community struggle. This virus will bankrupt more people than it will kill before it said and done if the status quo does not change," he added. "You can take that to the bank, rest assured."

Burnside's restaurants — a major part of the city's economy because of the need for lake tourists to eat while here, as well as the money they pump into the city's revenue coffers — are being allowed to re-open this weekend at 33 percent capacity under state policy, though Lawson said they'd told him they'd need to be at 50 percent capacity to make it worth their while financially.

Lawson said that he didn't disagree with Becker, but that, as city officials, they took an oath to uphold the law, whatever that may be.

"Whatever the law is, even though we don't agree with it totally, that is the law," said Lawson.

He added, however that "our businesses here are suffering (because of the closures and restrictions). They're going bankrupt."

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