A couple of actions on property and the potential for further growth for Somerset led discussions during the city’s first council meeting of 2022.
The council approved buying a 2-acre property on Bourne Avenue near the Prairie Farms Dairy for $50,000.
The resolution proposing that action stated that the city would buy it to help improve drainage in the area and to try to curb vagrancy and improperly discarded needles.
Secondly, the council approved the request by the owner of the Aldi grocery story for that property to be annexed into the city – an action that Councilor Amanda “Bean” Bullock said would please a few women she knew who worked at the business.
Bullock said those employees were excited by the change.
While no action was taken, council members heard the first readings of two more annexation requests. The first is to take in a utility corridor from Ky. 461 along Pin Oak Drive so the city limits could reach the area where the new AppHarvest facility is being built.
The second request was from App Harvest owners to have that property annexed.
Keck said the reason for the request was so the business could receive city utilities – water, sewer and natural gas – “which is, of course, pretty critical for a greenhouse and we’re excited to provide that for them.”
Keck then added that the annexation needed to take place soon, because he doesn’t want those constructing the AppHarvest site to have to wait on the city from that end.
“I’m afraid that might be the case, but we’re going to work parallel paths the best we can,” Keck said.
Bob Helton, Developmental Specialist from AppHarvest responded, “We’ll work hand-in-hand and make it work.”
Helton also updated the audience on the project, saying construction was ahead of schedule, but he didn’t have an exact time table for when it would be ready, only that it should be this year.
He also added that the company, which had originally considered growing all strawberries, is now “giving a strong consideration” to rotating crops, with one harvest of strawberries followed by one season of cucumbers.
City Attorney John Adams said the council may not have the second reading on the annexation ordinances at the next meeting because officials are waiting for the details of an extension to Pin Oak as well as some details concerning another business on that road, Hendrickson.
The second reading of those ordinances should take place at a later meeting.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Somerset resident Beka Burton asked council members to encourage Somerset’s citizens to not only get out and vote in the upcoming election but to also encourage others to run for office.
She noted that at the current time, only one council member – Bullock – is facing any opposition.
Bullock’s sole opponent at this time is Teresa Singleton.
Council member David Burdine put a friendly amount of pressure back onto Burton, asking if she would consider running for office.
Burton simply said that right now it doesn’t align with her “future political goals.”