For two consecutive nights, City Hall was packed with citizens concerned with what the future of Versailles may hold.
Monday, May 13, a special town hall meeting was conducted to allow citizen input regarding proposed bike and pedestrian paths and adjusted traffic flow and parking on the town square. These changes include one-way driving around the courthouse square, adding a bike lane, and installing various beautification upgrades. A temporary trial of the arrangement was considered.
Spearheading the proposal is Tara Grantham, who presented design diagrams and concept drawings based on engineering research. She emphasized increased safety, designated bike lanes, advantages to the disabled, convenience for pedestrians, and potential economic benefits.
Objections from many in the meeting centered on the loss of parking spaces if the plan was implemented. Others in opposition cited the economic detriment to restaurants and other businesses on the square; heavy delivery trucks forced to take residential streets; people not willing to walk long distances, especially in bad weather; and the effect on access to doing necessary business for all county residents.
The Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce stands officially opposed to a temporary trial and distributed a survey to downtown businesses. Nine of 14 responses were in opposition.
One suggestion of a possible compromise, retaining parking spaces and marking a bike path, was made. Mayor Terry Silvey concluded the meeting by saying, “One thing is for sure, everyone here cares about our community.”
No decision was made about the trial run the next night at the Tuesday, May 14 City Council meeting, as the item was mistakenly left off the agenda.
Still on the agenda, however, was the request by Julia Crabtree, owner and operator of Tranzform Wellness in Versailles, that the city consider her plans to open a medical cannabis dispensary and that the city council either eliminate or reduce the requirement that any such operations be at least 1,000 feet away from a church or school.
Crabtree reiterated that her dispensary would be operated in a professional, medical fashion, with tight security under legislated protocols. She spoke about the need for access to cannabis by people who have not been helped by traditional medicine. 
“I love this community. We want to help people,” Crabtree said. “We want the dispensary to be in town ... There is a stigma to overcome, but it will be run as as a medical clinic. ... There will be no signs with pot leaves on the outside of the building.” 
Several people offered testimony in support of the dispensary and having local access to medical cannabis, including the Rayl family, whose 9-year-old son has seen a dramatic reduction in seizures since being able to use medical marijuana. “It has changed our lives,” said his mother Heidi Rayl. “My son would be dead if it wasn’t for medical marijuana.”
One person in support said, “It’s not a bar, it’s not a strip club, it’s not flashing lights, it’s just something we need.”
Another said pharmacies dispensing opioids were “handing out drugs that kill people.”
While expressing compassion for those who have been helped by medical marijuana, several church pastors also expressed their desire that the City Council keep the current ordinances in place. They were also concerned about the overall negative affects of alcohol and marijuana use. 
Donna Chapman, an educator and outspoken opponent of substance abuse, reminded people of the risks, and expense, of drug use.
The City Council did not decide on the issue, but agreed to address it at their next meeting scheduled 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 11 at City Hall.
Publishers Note: While the dispensary issue discussion took the majority of the City Council meeting, other city business was conducted and a brief story will be published in next week’s Leader-Statesman.