The Leitchfield City Council on Tuesday gave approval for officials to determine the feasibility of establishing a recreation center in the city.

Leitchfield Parks & Recreation Director Tammee Saltsman and Grayson County Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Brittany Clemons addressed the council Tuesday evening regarding a potential recreation center.

Saltsman had previously brought the idea up to the council in 2019, but it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saltsman said her vision is to have a recreation center containing two full-size basketball courts with drop down volleyball nets that can be broken down into four middle-school courts, which would allow Leitchfield to host basketball and volleyball tournaments, as well as other activities such as pickleball, archery, trade shows, tournaments, cheer competitions, etc.

Other possibilities, she said, could be two indoor tennis courts or an indoor soccer field, but she is especially in favor of the center having an indoor walking track.

The center could also have meeting rooms or an indoor pool, said Saltsman, who added that Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center (OHTLMC) and the Grayson County Healthcare Foundation have expressed interest in supporting the project after Leitchfield City Councilman Dennie Fentress met with them.

Clemons said OHTLMC recently conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment through which residents identified obesity and a lack of physical activity as primary health issues in the community.

A recreation center, Clemons said, would be a good option to address these issues, and could also serve as a recruitment tool for the hospital to find new physicians.

Fentress said everyone with whom he has spoken has supported the project, including Grayson County Schools, which expressed interest in using the facility if it is constructed. He added that a recreation center could potentially help recruit new businesses to the city and be used as a concert venue, as well.

“I think we’re in a good position to do this,” said Fentress, explaining that the city has funding available now that it has never had before.

Leitchfield Mayor Harold Miller said he is in favor of looking into the project.

“I think it’s needed in the community, and I think it’d be welcomed in the community,” Miller said.

Clemons said the Healthcare Foundation board granted her approval to begin researching cost estimates and funding sources, after which the foundation will determine whether it is feasible to make an official commitment to supporting the project.

According to Fentress, the Healthcare Foundation also has “some very unique property” that could be potentially used for this project.

Additionally, to keep maintenance costs down, Saltsman said she would move the Parks & Recreation office into the recreation center to maintain it during the day.

Miller clarified that officials are currently only in the research phase of the project, but, “We’re very hopeful that we can get something like this done,” he said.

Clemons requested approval from the city council to investigate the project to determine whether it would be feasible for the community at this point, and the city council passed a motion to grant it.

In other business, the city council:

  • Agreed to request that the state lower the speed limit on the section of HWY 1214 from HWY 62 to William Thomason Byway to 45 miles per hour.
  • Voted to rescind motions reappointing April Bowman to the Leitchfield Planning & Zoning Commission and adding Tony Swift to the Planning & Zoning Commission. According to the Kentucky League of Cities, members cannot be reappointed or added until after terms have expired, and Bowman and Swift were added were before the terms expired, officials said.

Miller then recommended Bowman replace Fentress for the remainder of his term on the Planning & Zoning Commission, which expires Dec. 31, 2023, and a motion to do so was passed.

Next, Miller recommended Kendall Clemons and Mark Buckles be reappointed to the Planning & Zoning Commission for full terms running from Jan. 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2026. The city council approved these recommendations.

Miller said he recommended these changes because officials determined there was “a huge lack of experience on that commission.”

After these appointments were made, the council discussed updating the city’s ordinance related to Planning & Zoning to make the language more specific regarding who may be appointed to the commission. A motion was then passed to table a decision on finalizing the updated ordinance until the next city council meeting.

  • Approved the second and final reading of the amended ordinance increasing Leitchfield Code Enforcement Board members’ pay from $50 per meeting (or $16.67 per month) to $100 per month for the board chair and $50 per month for regular members.
  • Passed a motion to begin broadcasting Leitchfield Planning & Zoning, Tourism Commission, Board of Adjustments, and Code Enforcement Board meetings on YouTube, as well as to recommend that the Leitchfield Utilities Commission — over which the city council does not have authority — do the same.
  • Heard from Miller that there has been an issue of many signs being posted on right-of-ways and nailed to utility poles, the latter of which makes the poles dangerous to climb for utility workers. The mayor encouraged individuals to post their signs in appropriate places.

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