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A moment of silence opened Tuesday's meeting of the London City Council, honoring the military personnel who were killed recently in Afghanistan.

Councilman Daniel Carmack requested that moment of silence be held to honor those who lives were ended abruptly in the battle.

"I think we should remember those who wear the uniform," Carmack said. "They answered the call of their country."

Then the council opened the business portion of the meeting, first hearing from residents at Sheffield Place.

Tim Crawford served as spokesperson for the group, who voiced concerns of a substance abuse treatment facility locating in a building in front of their residential complex off Main Street.

"Word has gotten to us that there have been numerous complaints about the clientele there wandering around. We only have one entrance and we've done a lot of work and invested money into our homes there," he explained. "We have several 'silver widows' - I'm a silver widower myself - and we are concerned that the clientele there may not respect our privacy."

Whether such a facility so near to their homes would affect the property value, create a traffic problem or litter problem were also issues residents presented to council members.

"The primary issue is safety and property damage," Crawford added.

Another resident questioned why the facility, now located in the business property across from Town Center Park, was moving.

City Building Inspector Doug Gilbert said the facility was expanding - that it had outgrown its space at the current location. He added that there have been objections to treatment facilities throughout the city - the first being located in the Sue Bennett property in 2015. That is when the commercial zoning was changed to accommodate a facility there.

"As long as it's commercial, there is no separation of what business can locate," he added.

Councilman Carmack said drug rehab facilities were best not located near retail areas or residential areas, with City Attorney Larry Bryson explaining the laws affecting such actions.

"There is no legal way to stop this," Bryson said. "You cannot zone businesses like this outside the city."

Council member Kelly Greene said the council should revisit the ordinance to make revisions as necessary, with Mayor Troy Rudder stating the issue needed to be referred back to the the City Planning and Zoning Commission for further consideration.

Council members also approved accepting bids for a telecommunications franchise that would bring fiber optics into the city. Bryson said the Laurel County School District had recently hooked on to such technology and it was beneficial to the district. Bryson said the provider wanted an agreement with the city to supply fiber optics under a state contract that would run off the state's system. The agreement is non-exclusive, meaning that other companies could also supply fiber optics to the area.

Bryson said fiber optics have been under consideration for several years but the cost effectiveness of it had deterred some development. He stressed the importance of such technology, adding, "It is important to businesses here and in the future."

That was seconded by Paula Thompson, economic development recruiter. Thompson said larger companies were looking for fiber optic connections to grow their businesses and some had turned away.

"They're asking for something that we haven't got, so this would be a good move for the city," she added. "It's crucial for future development."

Another possible addition to London is a city radio station. Council members voted to advertise for proposals for a radio station that would highlight the city as well as boost its event schedule. Specifications would include 30-second commercials, announcements of events, live broadcasts of events and parades as well as possible live streamed meetings.

Steve Berry, chair of the city tourism commission, spoke about the events sponsored by the commission over the past month. The first was the first-ever Homecoming Carnival, which generated large crowds on the two nights in which rain did not interfere with the activities. Berry said the carnival generated a profit, with the Laurel County Homecoming Committee receiving those funds.

"This was the first carnival since the city took over the park and it's been a good summer for tourism," he said. "The summer concerts were a grand success. On Friday night we had about 1,000 people, and God blessed us with perfect weather for all four concerts."

He also updated council members on current projects. The parking lot at 9th and Hill Street is nearly complete - a space to create more parking for the Town Center events. Four pickleball courts are under construction at the Whitley Branch Veterans Park, and will have two shelters for players and observers.

"The sensory playground at the Wellness Park is almost done and has handicapped parking area and ramps and is really nice," he added. "And the site on Fourth Street is being leveled for future development."

Upcoming events sponsored by city tourism include a flag memorial from the Laurel County Homecoming that is constructed with flags representing each person who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. That will be displayed at Town Center Park. The 20th anniversary of that horrific day in American history is also being recognized with a special program by the London City Fire Department on Saturday, Sept. 11 at Farmer's Market between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

National Cleanup Day will be held in downtown London on Saturday, Sept. 18 - the weekend prior to the World Chicken Festival, which will be held Sept. 23 through Sept. 26.

October 9 will be a full day of activities, with the Honey Bun Day at Farmer's Market. Part of those festivities will be an attempt to break the world record for the largest number of people eating a honey bun at the same time. The event was the suggestion of Flowers Bakery officials who wanted to partner with city tourism for such an event and will provide the honey buns. Flowers Bakery is a mass producer of honey buns which are distributed throughout the United States. That evening will host the first-ever Cidernight which will feature cider and food vendors.

Julie Rea, executive director of London Downtown, addressed the council regarding the Honey Bun Run, a 3-mile trek for runners that will begin at Farmer's Market and continue along the back streets of London to Whitley Branch Veterans Park and back to Farmer's Market. Participants will be required to consume a honey bun midway through the run. Rea also added that the Cidernight event will feature 47 craft booths.

"These are all hand crafted items from people right here in London and Laurel County," she said. "And we have 10 food vendors participating."

Other events that Berry outlined are the opening of Pumpkin Park at Town Center on Oct. 14, Boo on Main on Oct. 30, a disc golf tournament on Nov. 6. Christmas on Main will take place on Friday, Dec. 3 and Lights About London will begin on Dec. 4 and will run through Dec. 31. The inaugural event last year brought out over 40 participants who decorated their homes and competed for votes from the public. 

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