Redevelopment Project

Martin Council Member James Reynolds asks officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the redevelopment project. Mayor Sam Howell is also pictured.

Members of the Martin City Council discussed preliminary plans for the Martin redevelopment project with officials at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday.

The Floyd County Chronicle and Times was not given 24-hour notice, as required, of the special-called meeting. With three council members absent, however, no quorum was present and Mayor Sam Howell advised officials that they could just discuss topics without taking action. 

Corps officials reported they were not given authority to make any promises to the city about the redevelopment, but said they were there to get preliminary ideas about things city officials want as part of the project. 

Council Member James Reynolds reported that city officials have been in discussions with the County Judge-Executive about relocating the American Legion onto a lot near city hall. He also mentioned the possibility of opening a park in the green space that will be left in the flood zone after the project is completed. 

Corps official Mike Johnson reported the work will likely start on the north end of the town, as the Corps works to elevate Ky. 1428 out of the flood zone. 

“Part of the reason I’m here, is I work in relocations, and you guys are the owners of the water and sewer facilities within the town that will be demolished and put back, is our intentions,” Johnson said. “Since you all are the owners, we will at some point, and likely next month, put an agreement in front of you, detailing what we think we want to do, what you guys want to do, and since it’s your stuff, you have the right to have some input on that.” 

He said council members expressed interest in retaining Summit Engineering as part of the project. At the last meeting, city officials tabled a request to contract engineering review services from Summit Engineering, while voicing concerns about potentially breaking Kentucky bidding laws. Since engineering is a professional service, however, the city would not be required to seek bids for engineering services from Summit. 

On Tuesday, Reynolds asked Johnson how much Summit would make for the work, voicing concern, again, about the bidding laws. 

“What we’ll be paying, at this point, we don’t know because we haven’t really negotiated what you guys will do and what will be going,” Johnson said. “We are about a day from official authorization to negotiate, but, typically, in a relocation agreement, typically what we’ll do is figure out who’s doing what, and how often you think you want somebody out there checking the contractor, how much involvement you and your contractor Summit, would have looking at our stuff.” 

He said once that information is determined, the Corps would request a cost proposal from the council. 

“Like I said, what you’re asking is to have your contractor do some work on your behalf, and typically, that’s, typically, that’s a reimbursable expense,” Johnson said. “I’ve danced around it before and I’m going to dance around it again tonight because I don’t have legal authorization to say I’ll pay you for anything.” 

He and Project Manager Brandon Moore shared preliminary maps and drawings related to the project with council members. 

Several members of the public — members of the group opposing Martin’s annexation — were present for the meeting, and they left when officials started discussing the maps and plans.

Council members Gary Akers, April Gayheart and Bonita Compton were not present.

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