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Voters in Mt. Sterling to vote for downtown improvement project

Voters in Brown County are being asked to green light spending $800,000 in bonds to improve infrastructure and sidewalks downtown.

City officials said they are uneven, unsafe and not all entrances to buildings are ADA accessible. But there’s controversy on how the city should fund its part of the project, that will be decided at the polls.

The city of Mount Sterling has roughly $1.5 million to spend on a project to improve infrastructure and sidewalks downtown for two and a half blocks, thanks to a state grant.

But in order to do it, the city has to match that grant with $800,000 of its own money– which city leaders are pushing to pay with bonds.

“This is a way, this is the best way to finance our portion that is most fiscally responsible and does not put the city at any unnecessary risk and it does not raise taxes,” Mt. Sterling City Administrator Vada Yingling said.

The project will fix the sidewalks, replace lighting with LED lights and make all entrances to buildings ADA accessible.

But, not everyone’s on board as this petition has been circling the city of Mount Sterling. Residents said with construction to the sidewalks, comes narrower streets.

“I don’t think it would be to our advantage to have that done, I just really don’t,” resident Alice Marie Flynn said. “More sidewalks, less parking, there’s barely enough parking as is.”

Although the project is set to happen, residents like Flynn, who live a street over from Main Street, said if residents vote against funding it, that it may not happen.

“I think that would be pretty steep for Mount Sterling,” Flynn said. “I can’t see myself voting for it, because I just don’t believe in it.”

But city leaders disagree– they said the new project will bring in more opportunities for business and growth downtown.

“It’s a good time for the city to be able to finance, to get these changes, get a million and a half dollars to do these changes and do these updates, and it’s not all coming out of our pocket,” Yingling said.

If the vote passes in the election on November 6, the city plans to start construction on phase one of the project in the spring.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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