Council discusses pending park behind closed doors, nullifies

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Wes Simpson, Chairman of Glasgow City Council’s City Center Park Steering Committee, looks at a proposal to build the park, which was received at Glasgow Town Hall on Friday November 19, 2021. Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction have submitted the design proposal and build the proposed park.
(BRENNAN CRAIN/WCLU NEWS)

GLASGOW — Members of Glasgow City Council sat for almost an hour behind closed doors at their meeting on Monday and it ended up being a draw.

Wes Simpson, the chairman of a committee overseeing the potential development of a park near Glasgow city centre, was due to brief council on the project. His committee recently met to rate a proposal they received from Scott, Murphy & Daniel Construction.

Simpson was invited to speak before the council. Taking the podium at the meeting, he said Jason Halligan, the attorney for the Downtown Park Steering Committee, recommended that council discuss the details of the proposal in a closed session.

KRS 61.810(1)(g) was cited as the exception to holding the discussion before the assembled public inside the boardroom. This specific law authorizes closed sessions for “…discussions regarding a specific proposal, if open discussions compromise the establishment, retention, expansion or upgrading of the business.”

Patrick Gaunce and James “Happy” Neal offered to go into closed session and council members then entered the closed room. But the mayor called council members back to the main chambers to suspend the rules, which they voted on as they were scattered across the room.

The closed session lasted nearly an hour before council returned and said it had taken no action.

Harold Armstrong, Mayor of Glasgow, said the closed session was to “review some information about the city center park”. It is unclear what details were discussed at the session that have not already been made public in the published proposal.

The committee received only one proposal, which came from Scott, Murphy & Daniel, for the construction of the park. WCLU obtained a copy of the proposal shortly after the city received it on November 19, 2021. Cost and specification details were included in the report.

Armstrong said the proposal will go to the city’s finance committee and they’ll approve it to go to council or let it die. He also said it was revealed during the closed session that the proposal did not include an amphitheater, which was an important part of the original project plan. Find more information about the proposal here.

“We’re better prepared to look at this after it comes from the finance committee,” Armstrong said.

The project was proposed in July 2019. Supporters of the park tout the public and private funding aspects of the project. More than $1 million has apparently been pledged to the project by the private sector, Simpson said.

Simpson never spoke about the project’s current position in public session.

In other news, Becky Barrick has been reappointed and Beth Wagner has been appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission. Their terms end on March 31, 2024.

The council authorized the disposal of certain surplus items from Glasgow Parks and Leisure and Glasgow Police Service. Some of those items included an old city bus, fuel tanks, ball diamond lights, 12 bicycles, and 72 older or obsolete body cameras, among other items.

A resolution was also passed authorizing the city to apply for a household hazardous waste management grant worth $15,600. The grant will be used to fund a household hazardous waste collection day within the city limits, if approved. The City must contribute $3,854 to the $19,454 cost of the project.

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