Published: Friday, 07 April 2017 01:12
By Dylan McCament, KnoxPages.com Reporter
GAMBIER - Any village resident can tell you that change is well underway to the downtown, and there are many more changes to come.
Kenyon College kicked off what it is calling a "revitalization" project last summer which so far has included renovating portions of middle path, tearing down the old Gambier Grill restaurant and constructing a new building to house the village's only grocery store.
The Village Market at 112 Gaskin Avenue, which has long served both college students and residents alike, will soon be relocated to a new building at the corner of Brooklyn Street and Chase Avenue, beside the village's post office.
According to Mary Keister, director of news media relations for Kenyon College, the new market will be open in June. She said the design of the new market will allow delivery trucks to use the alley between the building and the gas station and to park parallel to the building on Brooklyn Street so traffic can easily drive around trucks making deliveries.
Keister said the new 9,950 square-foot building, the location of an old bank building once stood, is nearly completed, adding that the upper floor floors of the building will be used for student housing.
After the market moves, renovations to Farr Hall will begin, according to a recent college news release. Farr Hall is the building on Gaskin Avenue near the center of town that currently houses the Kenyon College Bookstore, the Gambier Deli and the Village Market.
This month, Kenyon College will seek approval from the village to allow for renovations to the bookstore which would include adding new windows and additions to the second floor for college office. During these renovations, the bookstore will temporarily move into the northern end of Farr Hall, the current location of the Village Market and Gambier Deli.
The release also explains that when the renovations have been completed, the bookstore will move back to its permanent space and the northern two-thirds of Farr Hall will be demolished. Three new buildings with retail space and student housing on the upper floors will be built on the site.
Around the third week of June, the Gambier Deli will close for a year during the Farr Hall renovations, according to the release, and should re-open in a newly-designed space at an unspecified date in the future.
Another part of the revitalization project is nearing completion. Construction on two new buildings behind Farr Hall is nearing completion, according to Keister, who added that these will house students this coming fall and be the homes of Unity House and the Snowden Multicultural Center.
On a related matter, the college-owned gas station, Campus Auto & Fuel at 101 W. Brooklyn St., behind the new Village Market building, will re-open on April 10 under new management. The gas station was closed in January after the college opted not to renew the lease with the former operator.
Published: Thursday, 06 April 2017 10:19
By Dylan McCament, KnoxPages.com Reporter
MOUNT VERNON - The MVPD chief feels that his department has long needed a police dog and hopes to have one on the street before the end of the year, thanks in large part to local fundraising efforts.
Chief Roger Monroe said a police dog could help the department, not only in drug-related investigations, but also in patrol tactics such as officer protection and the pursuit of suspects.
"The rise in drug use is definitely a driving force but it is not the only force," he said, when asked if the rise of drug use in the community in recent years is a motivation behind efforts to create a canine unit. "The unit will be a a tool for helping in the search and seizure of drugs but it would also help with officer safety and liability. There are numerous reasons why a [police] dog is beneficial."
Monroe estimates the overall start up cost for the canine unit to be around $50,000, which includes not only purchasing the dog but also additional equipment, training an officer in handling the dog and providing housing and care for the dog.
"I think once we have the dog, the year-to-year costs will be minimal," he said.
KP File photo of Lasko, who was a K-9 officer for Danville PD
Monroe said there is simply not enough money in the budget to pay for the creation of a canine unit, adding that the department has had to reach out to the public to find other avenues of funding.
The Arms of an Angel Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes drug awareness and community outreach, is spearheading a fundraising campaign called the Police K-9 Funding Project, to help the MVPD purchase a police dog and training. The foundation was created by local residents Dave and Ellen Culbertson in 2009, after the accidental heroin overdose of their son Carl Culbertson. The group's goal is to raise $18,000 by the first of July.
Monroe said that, according to his research, $18,000 would be a sufficient amount to pay for the dog and the training of the officer that will be the dog's handler.
"This is a very in-depth project and we are still in the early planning stages," Monroe said. "It is a long process and has to be done correctly."
Monroe said the MVPD has agreements with neighboring law enforcement
agencies that have canine units such as the Danville Police Department, adding that police dogs have been brought to Mount Vernon for drug interdiction, searches and even for special events for the public. Asked why the MVPD does not have its own canine unit, he said he cannot speak for previous police chiefs but suspects that the reason is a lack of funding.
"I think we should already have a canine unit, because of the issues and dangers we have," Monroe said.
He said other local agencies and companies have reached out to him about helping in efforts to raise money for the canine unit.
"The public has been outstanding in the assistance of this," he said. "There has been overwhelming support. It's been awesome and that does not go unnoticed."
Those who wish to donate to the Arms of an Angel K-9 Funding Project can do so by visiting the website of the Community Foundation of Knox County and Mount Vernon here. Donations are tax deductible.