NEWPORT, Ky. — While local municipalities are pinching pennies as the economy takes a hit due to COVID-19, Newport’s city commission approved spending about $340,000 to improve a park and several local roads earlier this week.
City leaders say these infrastructure repairs will pay off in the long run, and it seems neighbors like Pauline Wolfe agree.
“We’ve all been putting up with that for years,” Wolfe said. “Very worthwhile to spend the money and finally get it fixed.”
In the almost 30 years Wolfe has lived on Grandview Avenue, she said she’s seen times when the road has slipped down the hill after storms sweep through the area.
“Last year, there were some really bad storms in the spring and some of the homes from what we understand literally slipped off the foundation,” she said.
Grandview is one of the roads Newport City Commission will use about $340,000 to repair and blacktop, along with Poplar Street and Fort Beech Road.
Funds will also be used to restore the tennis and basketball courts next to Newport High School.
City Manager Tom Fromme says these projects have been scheduled for quite some time, with some of the projects happening “on and off” over the last two decades. He says now is the perfect time The money for the projects will not come out of the city’s general fund.
“These were borrowed funds through a bond issue so the money had to be spent on certain projects,” he said. “It couldn’t be used for personnel or for any kind of operational aspect anyway.”
And according to Fromme, the city has been able to avoid furloughing employees amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“We feel we’re already understaffed, and we never really got back full staffing after the last economic downturn back in 2008. We’re keeping everything moving as best we can,” he said.
The city manager expects crews to start working on those projects next week, with most of them estimated to be finished within two months.