Mondays With The Mayors - Bernie Hunstad, Danville
LEXINGTON, Ky. - This week we talk with Danville Mayor Bernie Hunstad about preparing to a host a second Vice Presidential Debate, the state of Danville's economy, and the city's strong Town/Gown relationship with Centre College.
Question: Coming up in October, your town will once again host a VP debate. This is the second time you have had that honor. What's the secret to that success?
"The short answer is, Centre College did it right the first time (in 2000), and they have what it takes to give confidence to the Presidential Debate Commission to come to a small town in Central Kentucky and put on what probably will be the premier debate of the election season.”
Question: What is Danville doing to prepare for that national spotlight?
"We'll be getting a lot of outside help that will be coming in; it'll be like the Cavalry coming over the hill in time to fight off the Indians, so to speak. But we of course have our emergency services personnel ready, the Secret Service has already been here checking things out. 99% of the coordination is coming from Centre College and they'll do a great job once again. We will really come in closer to the actual date."
Question: How would you characterize the Town and Gown relationship with Centre College?
"Oh it's very strong. We share a boundary and a history that is as good as any place you will find in history...our high school football team once played on their field...their campus is right downtown. It's a good and very close relationship."
Question: What is the state of the local economy as you see it?
"Like the rest of the nation, we're kind of plugging along but we have been fortunate, too. We're still in the black, our revenues have been flat, but we still have money to do some planning. In fact right now we are in the process of securing funds for a $28m water treatment plant expansion."
Question: Besides the big debate later this fall, what other events are going on in Danville in the coming weeks?
"Well we are establishing ourselves as THE Kentucky Barbecue festival. We did this the first time last year. We had a local business sponsor it and we had like 30,000 people come. And, unlike the festival in Memphis, we let people eat what was being judged. So everybody come out and enjoy the Danville Barbecue Festival that's going to be September 8th and 9th in Constitution Square."
Mondays With Mayors can be heard every Monday at 8:35 a.m., and 5:45 p.m. on WUKY.