By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
As with many events across the state, the Friday night events that have become customary at Mill Race Park have been canceled for this year, announced Events Coordinator Tammy Michael at the Parsons City Council meeting . As of now, the Second Annual Car Show is scheduled for August 22 as Michael is working closely with James Snyder at the Tucker County Health Department to comply with the health guidelines.
Michael provided a list of sponsors who donated to the senior banner project which was covered entirely from the donations. Each banner cost $115 and there were 60 placed throughout the city, including a couple homeschool graduates who wished to participate. Another round of banners recognizing the first responders and those working the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic is in the beginning stages with another set to honor local veterans and active military to follow this fall.
Prior to this meeting, Attorney Pat Nichols was consulted with concerns over a request made by a resident to have chickens for therapy purposes on their property. The issue was that the individual’s property is near pavilion two at Mill Race Park. Nichols stated in his email that the request does follow the ordinance and has been issued for other residents, so the application must be approved. Snyder was also consulted on the matter, though he felt this topic fell outside his jurisdiction. Secretary of the Parks and Recreation Commission Tim Turner submitted a concern to Jason Myers, City Administrator, requesting the chickens not be permitted because if allowed, they would be forced to close the pavilion because patrons would not want to experience that odor as they ate at that pavilion.
Councilman David Greenlief called for an executive session to discuss the topic of the request for the therapy chickens. Upon returning, Councilman Tim Auvil made a motion to grant the request with the stipulations that there cannot be more than six birds, no roosters are permitted, and the property be maintained and kept cleanly. Councilwoman Melissa Jones seconded the motion with all in agreement.
Parsons Mayor Dorothy Judy skipped ahead on the agenda to address the building permit by the same individual to construct a coop on the property. Recorder Bruce Kolsun made a motion to grant the permit request with the exception that the structure is placed at least 20 feet from the bike trail. Councilman Kenneth Morrison second the motion and all council members agreed unanimously.
The minutes from the June 2 meeting and the invoice list for $10,553.76 were approved as presented including a revenue control report of the general and coal severance fund. The meeting then moved onto employee and committee reports beginning with Tim Auvil for the Parsons Parks and Recreation Committee. “What we’re into over at the pond, the Tygarts Valley Soil Conservation went over budget by about 12 grand,” Auvil announced. During the Harman Fund draw, council allocated $20,000 towards the product, which has now been exceeded. Negotiation between the TVSC and the city is taking place, with Myers stating what they are looking for is actual incurred costs, though additional work is still needed. “We can’t just leave it a dry hole,” stated Auvil, “We’ve got to finish it for the year and then next year hopefully get it to the extra improvements.” A grant was applied for that the city had intentions of using some towards the pond project along with the Corrick’s Ford trails, though that application was denied.
Reviewing the Harman Fund allocations, Auvil recommended taking the $1,000 for the entrepreneurship contest that was canceled along with $20,000 set aside for the lean to at the maintenance garage which could be delayed for another year and $5,000 from fairs and festivals leaving enough for the Christmas Parade, this would leave enough complete the pond. Councilwoman Amy Wagner asked when Auvil said “complete,” if he meant to the entirety. He responded, “Put the bridge in and put the effluent and influent pipe in,” along with the peninsula for the bridge to extend to. This would leave the pier, the walkway, aeration system, and restocking. Myers also recommended replacing the deck boards on the bridge now versus while it is suspended over the pond as well as sandblasting the structure. Auvil made the motion to reallocate the Harman Fund money from those three line items to finish the pond for this year with a second by Councilwoman Melissa Jones and all in favor.
Chief Deputy J.E. Kopec of the Parsons City Police announced to the council that Code Enforcement Officer N.C. Gidley has been accepted into the W.Va. State Police Academy, expected to begin August 3. A ticket report for this month will be presented at the next meeting with a final tally. Kopec also counseled his employees on the use of social media amidst the war against police in addition to an impromptu training session on force. Handcuffing and dealing with arrestees was an area Kopec addressed and helped guide the other officers in proper technique.
Wagner asked Kopec about the trailer she has asked about for several months and what the status was on having it removed. “They’re playing this game of move the camper and it’s a lot more trickier to get rid of a camper,” responded Kopec. “It’s not been moved,” responded Wagner. “It’s been in the same spot on their property since they moved it from their neighbors property,” she added. Myers stated Kopec could address the issue under the floodplain ordinance which states the trailer must be licensed and road ready. Jones reiterated what Myers was stating that the floodplain ordinance requires the trailer to be road ready so in the instance of a flood, it could be hooked to and hauled out.
Auvil acknowledged how well the Community Center is coming along in it’s renovations. It was decided upon in the PPRC meeting to set the rental rate at $50 for half a day and $100 for a full day. Rentals must be done via debit or credit card which will be charged for damages, and a contract must be signed.
The ice rink is soon to be disassembled and placed into storage to construct a basketball court. “We just want to put something in that’s going to be more utilized and the biggest thing that everybody’s been asking for is a basketball court on that side of town,” stated Auvil. The Splash Park, which was doubtful to open, will actually be opening on June 26. Signage will be posted relating to COVID-19 risks as well as how many individuals are permitted to utilize the facility at any given time. Wellness 24 will be returning to a 24 hour facility on July 1, at which time credit time will begin whether being utilized by that member or not.
The master plan for the parks has been put on hold until fall, added Auvil before he presented a proposal for a piece of playground equipment at Mill Race Park. $40,000 was allocated for the structure, which the original price of was over $50,000. A discount of $17,501 was applied since the unit was previously purchased and returned (still new and never assembled), bringing the price within budget. For full install though, the company charges nearly $13,000 which does exceed the budget. A supervised installation is an option where an individual oversees the park employees assemble the equipment for $1,500 per day with an estimate of taking two to three days. Auvil made the motion to purchase the playground equipment with the supervised install option with a second by Jones and all in favor.
Auvil suggested the transfer of the Corrick’s Ford Battlefield and pond maintenance over to the PPRC. It is believed that this would open up additional grant opportunities for funds to go towards these projects, though this would also increase the Harman Fund draw request by the parks. “I want to get enough money in the budget so we can mow that field at least twice a month,” said Auvil. Greenlief pointed out that this may result in the need of an additional person assigned to the parks, which is also an additional expense. Jones asked if the Corrick’s Ford Roundtable had been consulted on this consideration, which Auvil said PPRC member Tim Turner is a member of and this was discussed. “We will not try to micromanage the Corrick’s Ford itself or the reenactment,” he said though he hopes for activity to return to the area. Auvil then made the motion to make the transfer effective July 1 when the new fiscal year begins then with a second by Jones. All members were in agreement.
Myers stated that the glass door for the hallway within the city building has been ordered and will be installed when received. Auvil also stated that it was requested by the contractors for the sewage extension project to utilize the space between the parking area for River City Park and the Community Center to stage their equipment and materials. The area will be graded, graveled, and maintained in exchange for usage.
Pertaining to the Parsons Industrial Park Project, the Thrasher Group is expected to have a figure to the city of Parsons by Friday. This will allow negotiations to begin on the cost for a master plan for the park.
The First Street demolition is nearing completion and all debris is removed. The contractors are filling in the crawl space area, though they ran out of dirt. Fortunately, there is excess dirt around the pond that can be used for this. “He’s hoping to be done this week,” said Myers.
Jones asked Myers about the Zayo Group building location within the City Garage property, which he provided an explanation for. The next meeting is scheduled for July 7, 2020 at 6 p.m.