POINT PLEASANT — Point Pleasant City Council met Monday night, making plans for community events held later this year and voting on additional business items.
Officials in attendance were Mayor Brian Billings, City Clerk Amber Tatterson, City Attorney Joe Supple, Street Commissioner Randy Hall, council persons (at large) Robert McMillan, Gabe Roush, council members Corrie Fetty, Paul Knisley, Cody Greathouse, Leigh Ann Shepard, Nathan Wedge, Judy Holland, Diana Hall, Dylan Handley. City Accountant Shannon Pearson and Administrative Assistant Teka McCauley were also present. The meeting was held virtually via the Zoom platform.
After discussion where Mayor Billings asked for feedback from council on expanding Liberty Fest from one to two days, it was decided to host the celebration on both Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4. Though plans are still being finalized, the festival, which celebrates Independence Day, will include a parade, food vendors, activities for children, musical entertainment and fireworks on July 4, with plans for July 3 activities still taking shape. Liberty Fest also hosts its own pageant and royalty.
Council approved spending $8,000 to book the fireworks display;
Approved waiving vendor fees for that Sunday and Monday of Liberty Fest.
In other festival news, Roush stated downtown Point Pleasant would be hosting the Bridge to Bridge cycling event on Saturday, June 11, partnering with the Rivers To Ridges Heritage Trail organization. This will include a 100K ride from Main Street Point Pleasant, to the Winfield Bridge and back along State Route 817 (Formerly Route 35); a 50K ride from Main Street Point Pleasant to Farm Fresh Favorites in Southside and back; and a six-mile family ride throughout the city. Find the event shared by Rivers to Ridges Heritage Trail on Facebook for registration details.
Roush said there was a possibility the event would also include food trucks in Point Pleasant but those details were still being finalized. Mayor Billings noted the night prior, on June 10, would be a free Mayor’s Night Out musical performance as well.
In other council business:
Council approved payment 12 for the construction of the new Point Pleasant River Museum in the amount of $108,524.
Council also approved moving the $55,000 the city received on the sale of the original museum building on First Street from the general fund to the river museum rebuild fund. Council wishes to assist in the purchase of two large medallions on the peaks of the front and rear of the new building with the letters “J” and “F” located within the medallions in memory of the late Jack Fowler – this is estimated to cost roughly $15,000. The city noted if the $55,000 is not spent once the rebuild project is finished, they would have the option to move any remaining money back to the general fund. The medallions were items to be purchased outside of the contract for construction.
City Attorney Supple gave an update on a property in the 2600-block of Lincoln Avenue, stating the city received a judgement against the property holder in the amount of $14,000 and the court granted the appointment of a commissioner who will be authorized to sell the property at public sale. Supple explained he would also be involved in any sale and would speak with any potential new owner that the city expects the property to be cleaned up. Supple said there had been no maintenance on the yard, reported break-ins at the residence and citations were issued prior to the lawsuit being filed.
Under the mayor’s portion of the agenda, he announced the river museum plaque, which will go on the left side of the entrance to the new building, has arrived.
The mayor also reported a committee meeting to facilitate funding for new and upgraded city Christmas decorations/lighting was rescheduled for Feb. 22.
Also announced by the mayor, there is a free COVID testing site in the parking lot of the club houses at Krodel Park. The mayor said the city had been approached by the Mason County Health Department and Maverick Health about setting up at the location, with testing times reportedly 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday-Friday. (Check the DHHR COVID Dashboard for updates on free testing sites across the state.)
Billings also reported there had been limited employees in the street department due to illness, with a focus on garbage pickup by remaining employees. Billings added, the department had “done a great job under the circumstances.”
Street Commissioner Hall stated upkeep on properties on North Main and Poplar streets were completed; he also updated on repairs at the lift station near Harmon Park – the roof was replaced and windows covered with metal to discourage any additional vandalism and breaking into the building.
Hall and Billings both stated their support for keeping the same contractor for cemetery mowing, with the contractor reporting they would maintain the same pricing as last year. Council had no objection.
Billings reported heating issues at the two club houses at Krodel Park and repairs were approved for $5,961. Until this is fixed, the club houses cannot be rented, Billings said.
Council unanimously approved The Thrasher Group of Charleston as the engineering firm for proposed updates to Harmon Park. Thrasher was chosen from a field of three firms by the Harmon Park Committee.
It was reported the Meadowbrook Drainage Project would be beginning with Cherry Excavation awarded the bid.
Mayor Billings stated he was still working with a contact at the West Virginia Division of Highways to place/paint a “thin blue line” in support of law enforcement along Sixth Street.
Under council concerns:
Roush proposed exploring tax credit incentives in regard to attracting new businesses to the city. He noted some cities had success with adjusting or waiving B&O taxes as an incentive for new development, also noting the attention the investment by Nucor Corporation could have on the area.
Council had no objections as long as any incentives did not negatively impact existing businesses. It was decided to form a committee to explore ideas and details of any incentives and related initiatives.
Roush also asked to possibly form a committee to discuss spending the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, stating the U.S. Department of the Treasury had released final guidelines on how the money could be spent.
As previously reported, the city is exploring upgrades for sewer and water operations and would be awarded an estimated $1.6 million in ARPA funds. It was reported at this week’s meeting the city has only received half of that amount at this time and that these water and sewer projects may require a significant amount of those ARPA funds.
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Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.