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About 10 downtown Morehead residents attended City Council’s monthly meeting to voice their concerns about safety in regards to high speed drivers in the Tippett Avenue and Fifth Street area. (Photo by Brad Stacy)

Morehead City Council has taken another step toward improving some downtown residents’ safety in regards to traffic, while also agreeing to move forward with the purchase to expand city park.

The group made their decisions during the monthly meeting held Monday night at City Hall.

Scott Davison, downtown resident, spoke on behalf of about 10 locals in attendance who were concerned about speed control devices on Tippett Avenue and Fifth Street.

Davison said not long ago the city installed speed humps to discourage speeders; however, the humps were recently pulled back up by the city’s Public Works Department.

His concern was that it again opened up the area for automobile drivers to operate at extremely high and dangerous speeds through a congested area.

Mayor Jim Tom Trent said the speed humps had to be pulled out because they didn’t meet the proper Department of Transportation code and could be a liability to the city.

“There’s pros and cons to the situation,” Trent said. “They are self-enforcing and can slow people down, but they also hurt drainage, snow removal, and even force ambulances to slow down in emergency situations.”

Council member Tom Carew said a recent traffic study informed the group that there is “just too much traffic in that area.”

Council member Glen Teager said the issues are continuing to get worse and other legal options have to be taken into consideration.

Trent said the city could invest in pre-fab speed humps at $2,300 each shipped. The humps would meet the proper codes to relax the city’s liability for damages.

“We know that speed is a problem in that area and that price is well worth saving someone’s life,” said Council member Beth Ousley.

Council agreed to place two humps on both Tippett and Fifth, using it as a test run for other areas in the city.

“Let’s test these out and see how it goes,” Teager said. “If this is the solution we can then look at other areas that are needed.”

Just last week, Council had a special called meeting to approve a lease with BB&T to finance the acquisition of about five acres to expand city park.

The first reading of the ordinance last week failed 0-6. The second reading passed on Monday 3-2 with Teager and Carew voting no.

Last week, Council said that moving forward with the property loan could potentially hurt the city’s chances of gaining another loan to utilize for the capital projects on the land.

This week, it was made known that if the city didn’t move forward with the ordinance it would cost taxpayers more than $3,000 in just advertising and other expenses.

A few Council members spoke to local banks and were assured they would work with the city to help secure the financing needed for future capital projects if in fact they weren’t able to secure an additional loan from BB&T.

In other business, Council approved:

• The second reading of an ordinance removing parking on Allen Avenue from 405 to 440.

• An ordinance establishing a zone map amendment from R-2 medium density residential zone to P-1 public zone for 246, 250, and 254 West Sun Street and 122 and 126 Daniels Avenue.

• A crosswalk at 121 East Second Street.

• First reading of an ordinance placing a stop sign at East Main Street and Lee Cemetery Road.

• Appointment of Robin Mirus and reappointed Jeff Patrick to a three-year term on the Morehead Code Enforcement Board.

• Reappointment J.C. Black to a four-year term on the Morehead Housing Authority.

• Reappointment of Guy Griffin to a three-year term on the Morehead Building Code Appeals Board.

Brad Stacy can be reached at bstacy@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

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