Krodel walking trail revamp moving forward

Beth Sergent -

POINT PLEASANT — Revamping of the walking trail at Krodel Park is moving forward.

At this week’s meeting of Point Pleasant City Council, Councilman Bob Rulen reported as of Oct. 1, a project manager had been assigned by the State of West Virginia which issued a $120,000 grant for the project this past March, with a $30,000 match required. Rulen told council the group of volunteers organizing the project submitted a report on the work and in the next couple of weeks the state would send someone to the site and begin to organize the bidding process. Rulen said the project, which includes widening the trail and paving it, is still about a year away from completion.

In other council news:

Mayor Brian Billings reported on work happening in the North Main St. area to clean up some dilapidated properties, including an old building used by the now defunct Point of Hope organization. City Attorney R.F. Stein is attempting to file paperwork that will hopefully allow the city to eventually bring it down. Billings said he, along with City Inspector Jeremy Bryant and Chief Joe Veith had also been in the neighborhood to assist with improvements, including identifying some residences which were without water, which is illegal if living in the city. Also, people had been illegally dumping refuse on a lot with the owner, who was out of town, being contacted to clean it up, and a business was contacted and mowed tall grass in the area as well.

In addition, this week, council voted to allow the mayor to seek paving bids for that section of North Main St. with Billings saying the city would likely pave half the street this fall and the other half in the spring due to the costs. Council also approved the mayor seeking bids to pave a section of 24th St. in the Mt. Vernon Ave. and Lincoln Ave. areas.

Billings reported Charlene Jones was hired as the new police secretary following the former secretary’s resignation to take a position with the West Virginia State Police.

Billings reported Administrative Assistant Teka McCauley had completed letters to mail out to residents affected by the recent smoke testing. Those receiving the letters will be doing so because the testing revealed some sort of issue with their properties in regards to sewer gas with over 100 letters going out. Many corrections are minor such as downspouts needing adjusted or capped. The testing was done to discover where rain water was running off into sewer drains, and then making its way back to the sewage treatment plant to be cleaned again, which results in extra, unnecessary costs to the city. The testing was also done to identify defects in sewer lines which could be dangerous if sewer gasses were allowed to collect in homes.

It was estimated one million gallons or more of clean storm water was entering the sewer system and treatment plant after rain events. Again, this was otherwise clean water going into the sewage plant.

The testing took place north of Southern States and as a result 53 private downspouts were identified as going directly into the sewer and six yard drains. There were also some city catch basins which were contributing to the issue which will need addressed.

Billings reported he attended training for the West Virginia Property Rescue Initiative in Montgomery to learn more about low interest loans to finance demolition of dilapidated properties.

Council unanimously voted to approve the rezoning of two lots from residential to business located at 2809 and 2811 Jackson Ave. This was the second of two required readings with a public hearing also held on the matter. The request was made by Jim and Sharry Rossi to change the zoning for possible, future business development. The Rossi’s proposal said, though they had no tenants at this time, they were in discussions with a national professional services company to custom build an office building on part of the property. The proposal went on to say it is the couple’s intent to develop the entire parcel with similar custom-built buildings for regional or national tenants in the hope of bringing in new businesses and to custom build for those businesses as opposed to building generic space and offering it for rent. The area in question is north of 28th Street and Valley Health Systems and the back of the property borders the Lutheran church.

City Clerk Amber Tatterson reported the liability insurance on the Franklin Building was $7,800 for one year. The city is to hold an auction at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24 with items like office equipment, a car, a leaf blower, salt spreaders, etc. Council asked Stein to see if the city could also auction off the Franklin building on Oct. 24.

Billings reported inmates from Lakin Correctional Center painted the city’s maintenance building at Lone Oak Cemetery.

Council adjourned once into executive session to discuss personnel matters under West Virginia Code 6-9a-4b. When adjourning back into regular session, council did not hire a new campground manager for Krodel Park and instead decided to re-post the position.

During council concerns, Councilman Rick Simpkins spoke about his concern regarding the West Virginia Division of Highways putting in a left turn signal on W.Va. 62 at the base of the Bartow Jones Bridge, allowing traffic to go to Third St. Simpkins said he was concerned that placing the signal there without a turning lane would cause major traffic headaches. Council seemed to agree with Simpkins though that roadway is under the state’s jurisdiction.

At this week’s meeting were Council Members Janet Hartley, Rulen, Simpkins, Keith Sargent, Allen Moran, Bob Doeffinger, Liz Jones. Also at the meeting, Billings, Tatterson, McCauley, Stein and City Accountant Shannon Pearson.

Beth Sergent

Reach Beth Sergent at or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.

Reach Beth Sergent at or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.