Wayne County Outlook …

Posted June 2, 2020 at 12:52 pm

There are always many decisions that need to be made by school districts, as one school year ends and planning for another one begins. Add in all the issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic–which preempted the 2019-20 school year in March–and the challenge is even greater.

The Wayne County Board of Education met on Thursday, May 21, and took one of the initial steps required by the state for the next school year. They adopted three different calendars for the school year, with opening dates reflecting scenarios that could occur as this country continues to make adjustments for the coronavirus.

Superintendent Wayne Roberts told the board that the governor has requested that each district adopt the alternative calendars, which include one with an early start date, another with a more traditional start date, and a third with a later start date.

Wayne County board members had already approved a traditional calendar with the first day of classes set for August 12.

Another alternative calendar sets the first day of classes for July 22 and a third alternative sets September 9 as the first day of school.

Roberts said the district is waiting on more guidelines about the new school year before any final decisions are made.

He referred board members to the Kentucky Department of Education’s lengthy document provided to districts regarding the reopening of schools.

They are still working through the document and discussing specific actions that will need to be taken in the new school year.

Roberts indicated that he may look for some parental input before any final decisions are made regarding the calendar for the next school year.


Memorial Park reopened last week, with several facilities available for use in the initial phase. More activities and other decisions regarding park activities will be made in the next few weeks.

Members of the Parks and Recreation Committee met on Tuesday, May 19, to discuss reopening of the park, as well as the ASPIRE Center.

Parks and Recreation Chairman Lonnie Chaplin recommended that Memorial Park begin operation on Tuesday, May 26. The hours will be from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

In the first phase, those who use the park can utilize the green space, use the walking trails, play tennis and eat at the picnic tables. Chaplin recommended the Tot Lot and basketball courts remain closed at this time, since they tend to become crowded.

Shelter house rentals will remain suspended at this time.

In the second phase of the reopening plan, Cal Ripken baseball will begin. Chaplin said practice for the youth teams will begin around June 15, with games slated for July.

Each team and coaches will be made aware of the safety guidelines that must be followed for league practice and play.

The ASPIRE Center was to reopen on Monday, June 1.

Small groups of 25 or less will be able to rent the facility and they will receive a list of guidelines they must follow. Chaplin indicated that no large parties can be booked at the facility at this time.

Meetings that are normally held at the facility that include 25 people or less may also resume.

The indoor walking trail will be open, but those who use it must adhere to social distancing, Chaplin said. The outdoor trail has remained open.

At this time, the gym at the ASPIRE Center will not be used for any basketball games. That decision will be made later.

The committee discussed the status of the pool at the ASPIRE Center. It will remain closed at this time and Chaplin is seeking guidance from the state in regard to the possibility of opening the pool. He said if it is not opened early in June it would not be feasible to operate it this summer.

The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Parks and Recreation Committee will be June 16, when they will continue further action regarding the facilities.


Wayne County Fiscal Court met in special session Wednesday, May 20, and heard the first reading of the budget for the next fiscal year. The budget totals approximately $10.9 million in all funds.

That includes $6.8 million in the general administration, $1.6 million in the road fund and $2.3 million in the jail fund.

Wayne County Judge/Executive Mike Anderson noted that this budget does not include any cost of living pay increase for employees. He said he hopes the court can address that issue later when they have a better idea of adjustments that will have to be made to county revenues.

Anderson noted that this is a “cautious” budget, which estimates about 20 percent less revenue from occupational taxes because of the pandemic. Jail revenues could also shrink with fewer state inmates being housed at the facility next year.


Libraries will be allowed to open across Kentucky on Monday, June 8, but it will take some extra time for Wayne County Public Library to prepare for the changes that will be mandated for reopening.

Members of the library board met via teleconference on Wednesday, May 20, and discussed reopening the facility. Librarian Anne Garner told board members that she personally did not believe that the Wayne County Library will be ready to open on June 8.

At this point, Garner said they have not received any information regarding the guidelines for libraries to reopen. After they receive that information, she expects it will take some time to put a plan in place for the local library.

“The governor said specific guidelines and building capacity limits would be forthcoming,” stated Garner. “We don’t know exactly what reopening will look like yet. We do know it won’t be ‘business as usual.’ There will be new rules, new procedures, and service limitations. Some of these may be temporary, and some may be long term.”

She said that before the library closed it was common for 200 people to enter the building each day.


Following a directive from the State Transportation Cabinet, the county has closed Lonesome Bridge. Wayne County Judge/Executive Mike Anderson said that the bridge was closed on Monday, May 18, due to safety concerns.

The county had been notified the previous week that it had five days to close the bridge, after engineers determined that it was unsafe for travel. The bridge has been discussed for nearly a decade now, as local officials have worked with the state to replace the structure.

District Three Magistrate Dale Vaughn addressed the situation during a meeting held on May 14, noting that the county was informed the bridge would be replaced using federal funds that came through the state. He indicated some preliminary work had been done so far at the approved new bridge site, but over the years, no actual construction work has begun at Lonesome Bridge.

Now, Anderson said ,the county is working with state officials to make sure that the structure is replaced. He said he had talked with Tamara Wilson with the District 8 Transportation Cabinet Office, and they are looking at getting estimates as soon as possible for another bridge.

In the meantime, the county has erected bridge closed signs at both entrances so they will be in compliance with the state recommendations.

Anderson said there is a temporary crossing that can be used. He is uncertain how many people are affected by the bridge closure, since there are loggers who use the structure as well as farmers who travel over it.