“The condition of the town of Berea is excellent,” said Mayor of Berea, Bruce Fraley.
That’s the statement he made moments before announcing he would run for re-election in 2022 at the end of his State of the City address.
“We remain committed to serving the citizens of Berea in a respectful and reliable manner and will do our best to ensure that citizens have the best possible urban services,” he said. “I ask everyone to work as a team, to understand and to be patient as we move forward together. Future generations depend on all of us to shape a strong city with a great quality of life for all, and I know we can make it happen.
He has been the city’s mayor since 2019 and has been at the forefront of Berea’s decisions with the council since the pandemic arrived in March 2020. Although he focused on COVID-19 during his speech, he s remembered those in the community who had passed away because of it.
However, it has refined the financial situation of the city, which has been badly hit by the virus.
Fraley said the city was in a “strong financial position” and noted the city’s ability to increase its “rainy day fund” to $ 3 million over the past year. vehicles, sweepers and salt trucks.
The city will receive more financial gain according to Fraley, from the US bailout. The ARP will allocate $ 4.1 million in federal funding over the next two years for water, sewers, upgrading broadband infrastructure and replacing city revenue lost due to the pandemic.
Despite this, the mayor always heeded the warning to council and the community.
“Although the city is in a strong financial position, it is essential that the city council, administration and city management team are aware that the pandemic has created inflationary pressures nationwide, and we expect an increase in the cost of goods and services. that we need to run our city and deliver the highest quality services to our citizens, ”he said. “We will need to factor these increased costs into our budget formulation as we change budgets and formulate a new budget in the spring for fiscal year 2022-2023.”
Fraley also encouraged several announcements that took place during his tenure over the past year, including dangerous compensation for employees, economic development through Hyster-Yale and AppHarvest, and the construction of the Career and Technical Education Center on Farristown Road. He hopes this development will increase the desire for other businesses to locate in the city.
“This will help prepare our youth for the jobs that currently exist in our local economy and for the advanced manufacturing careers that we are starting to see and that will increase in number over time. The Town of Berea is happy to play a supporting role in the process of securing this state-of-the-art career center located within our town limits as we conduct a Local Industry Needs Assessment for help Superintendent Gilliam and the Board of Trustees secure public funding for the center and develop a curriculum, ”said Fraley. … “I pledge the Town of Berea’s continued support, and my personal support, to this project and to doing all we can to help our students, who are our future leaders, to be successful here in Berea as our economy continues. to grow.”
With growth in mind, the mayor recited several screenings that ended in 2021. One of those projects was the Chestnut Street Pavilion – a permanent home of the Berea Farmers Market and will serve as a multi-purpose pavilion. Another completed project was the one Fraley said was the most profitable he had ever seen.
This was the creation and completion of Tillie Dog Park, which opened in May 2021. He noted that this particular endeavor involved all departments and was fun to complete.
“I am happy to say that the dog park is always busy and I congratulate everyone involved in the design and construction of the park,” said Fraley.
The Boone Trace trial along the south side of Fork Creek between Scaffold Cane Road and Boone Street has also been completed.
It was a significant collaborative effort between Berea College and the town of Berea to open up part of the Berea College forest to the public, Fraley noted.
The college gave easements to the town at no cost and to the town of Berea. Berea’s public works staff built the trail “in-house” with the help of GIS manager Tom Moreland. What makes this project even more important, he said, is that it runs along the route known to Daniel Boone and the early settlers, who built the first road in Kentucky, from Middleboro to Boonesborough, in 1775.
Finally, the note made of the Silver Creek Mountain Bike Trail – “a vision that has come true”.
“This is one of those projects where everything went well. We had great support from the community and our tourism commission, we chose the right contractor to build it, we decided to build a “pump track”, which is the only one of its kind in our region, and it was a huge success. We need to extend the mountain bike trail along Silver Creek and into some of the steeper sections of town property off JC Chambers land in the next fiscal year, ”Fraley said.
According to the mayor, the completion of the pavilion, Tillie Park, Sliver Creek Mountain Bike Trail and Boone Trace Trail are all good examples of creating outdoor recreation opportunities that benefit the citizens of Berea, while by attracting visitors and tourists to the city.
These are the kind of activities he and the city hope to continue pursuing in 2022 and 2023.