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Updates given on projects

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City of IvanhoeBy Chris Edwards
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IVANHOE – At the regular meeting of the Ivanhoe City Council, Ivanhoe mayor Skip Blackstone gave updates on several grant-funded projects addressing street improvements in the city.

Blackstone said that work on Galahad Loop is complete; that all sections scheduled to be worked on are done, although “it may not look like it,” he said. Additionally, work on Mill Creek is well underway, and 22nd Street improvements are almost complete.

Blackstone said that the city recently signed its contract with the state for the $1.9 million grant earmarked for work on Lakewood Drive. He said all of the support work is done in order for the city to receive the funding.

Blackstone asked the council on Thursday to consider putting an additional $5,000 toward the Camelot Park project. The council had approved the purchase price of $5,000 for the site as part of the work done in the grant-funded dam rebuilding projects, Camelot Dam being one of them.

The disruption to the park, he said, is great, in the work, and extending the funding to $10,000 allows the city the ability to go in and clear out the rest of the park for the northwest side. The request for the additional $5,000 for the Camelot Park was approved.

Short-term rental ordinancediscussed

One item that came up on the agenda for Thursday’s council meeting concerned that of a short-term rental ordinance for the city pertaining to Airbnb accommodations.

Councilman Will Warren spoke about the matter, and said the topic arose when talking to the grant writers for the city’s comprehensive plan, about commercial properties.

Warren said that although the city does not have a lot of commercial property, it does have 11-20 Airbnb, which range in fees from $90 to $450 per night for rental.

Warren said the city could issue an annual short-term rental permit for Airbnb owners, which could bring the city around $7,000 per year, and could be a method to get away from doing a hotel tax on those accommodations, which would have to go to tourism, instead.

During discussion of the topic, councilmember Joe McWhorter said he was against the notion, as homeowners who rent out their properties as Airbnbs are already paying property taxes, and such an ordinance would be an additional tax. Blackstone said the matter does warrant more discussion.

Exercise class idea brought to council

Prior to the regular meeting agenda, Ivanhoe resident Lynn Young spoke on behalf of an idea for an exercise program during the public comments portion.

Young, who serves as the secretary of the Ivanhoe Civic Club, said she did a survey among members of the club to see if there was interest in starting an exercise class

“As you know we get older, staying physically fit…is important,” Young said.

She said 20 people indicated they would be interested, and she’d reached out to an exercise instructor in Woodville who said she’d be interested in coming to Ivanhoe to do a twice-a-week exercise class at the civic center.

Young asked council for permission to get the classes going, and Blackstone said it would be discussed further as to how to move forward.

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