Roanoke council, tractor pullers to jointly decide usage of pulling, grandstand area at park

Decisions about the usage of the pulling and grandstand area at Roanoke Park will be made jointly by the Roanoke Town Council and Roanoke Tractor Pullers Association, the board determined at its meeting on Tuesday, April 18.

Council had been debating in recent weeks whether or not to give the organizer of a truck-pulling event permission to use the area. The organizer’s request led to the board drawing up a use agreement for the space, with the intention of that document applying to any party seeking to use the area going forward.

While the area is public property and therefore under the town’s jurisdiction, RTPA has maintained it and funded upgrades to it for 30 years. The group made it known at council’s last meeting, April 4, that it opposed the area potentially hosting the truck-pulling event, citing concerns about the safety of spectators and participants, as well as the condition of the pull strip following the event.

When debating whether or not to allow the event to take place, Councilman John Stoeckley pointed to RTPA’s investment in the area and contended that that entitled the group a say on its usage. After making a motion to leave decisions about the area’s utilization solely up to RTPA, Stoeckley rescinded the motion after more discussion and amended it so that decisions were to be made by RTPA and council jointly. The motion passed unanimously.

As RTPA opposed the truck-pulling event, its organizer, Chris Hoffman, will not be permitted to use the area for it.

“We have checks and balances now,” Council President Dave Tucker said of the decision.

Tucker supported Stoeckley’s original motion being amended so that the town would continue to have a say on the area’s usage.

“The tractor pullers just can’t bring in any old thing and do it,” he said. “They have to come through us. It is park property, it’s public property, it’s owned by the town.

“So, we have to have control of it.”

Earlier in the meeting, Phil Hibbert, the town’s supervisor of operations, stated that drainage improvements had been completed in and around the pulling area, with the bill totaling $4,800. Council voted to pay the bill, with the funds coming out of CEDIT.

Hibbert also updated the board on the status of repairs to the intersection of Vine and Seminary streets. The sidewalks were the only thing left to fix, he noted. Repairs were to begin next week, he said, with the cost totaling $4,500.

Once repairs are complete, council suggested that Hibbert send a copy of the bill to the utility contractor that caused the damage, in hopes that it will reimburse the town.

In other business:

• John Cass, who lives on E1000N, inquired if the town would consider extending the sewer line out to his residence and a neighbor’s residence. The line currently stops near American Legion Post 160, noted Assistant Utility Superintendent John Hitzemann. The board stated that it would look into the cost of extending the line.

• Clerk-Treasurer JoAnne Kirchner reported that the Jackson Township Board had approved an agreement with the town that will see it pay $30,000 a year through 2024 on payments for a new pumper fire truck for the Roanoke Volunteer Fire Department. Additionally, the board officially awarded the contract to build the truck to Summit Fire Apparatus, in Kentucky.

• Council passed Ordinance 2017-3, which changes the intersections that Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh streets have with Commercial Street to one-way stop intersections.