By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
After much deliberation and contacts made to James Snyder with the Tucker County Health Department, the Parsons City Council made the unanimous decision to cancel the door to door trick-or-treating within the city limits. Fortunately, a backup plan was presented by City Administrator Jason Myers to offer an alternative, fun event for the youth.
The proposal is to utilize, with permission, the Nursery Bottom and set up a halloween candy drive-thru event with interested parties setting up spaced out around the loop with decorative displays for families to drive around, view the displays, and receive pre-bagged candy for the youth. Those handing out the candy will be required to wear gloves and a mask, there will be traffic control present, and volunteers to keep proper spacing and traffic flowing. Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact the City Office to find out how to help. Recorder Bruce Kolsun made the motion to cancel the traditional, door to door trick or treating and replace it with the candy drive through. A second was made by Councilman Michael Matlick and all were in favor. This event will take place from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 31.
With so much unknown with what the future holds and the restrictions that may or may not be in place as the year continues, it has been suggested to consider this alternative for the Annual Christmas Parade as well. The parade entries will be stationary and the parade attendees will drive through, similar to The Festival of Lights. If the restrictions are lifted, the parade can be held as in years past, however at this time, the council felt it best to plan for the alternative measures. Kolsun and Jones made the motion with all in favor to hold the event on Saturday, December 12 beginning at 5 p.m. A theme and name will be decided at a later date.
The minutes from the August 4, 2020 meeting were approved with a motion by Councilwoman Melissa Jones and a second from Kolsun. Financial Administrator Danielle Sponaugle presented an invoice list in the amount of $35,173.84, which was approved by Kolsun and Jones. Myers also provided the monthly financial report ending July 31 for acknowledgement by the council.
A quote from Cunningham Recreation in the amount of $6,485.55 for expression swings followed which will enable any individual with disabilities from infants to adults to enjoy at Mill Race Park. St. George Medical Clinic has provided $6,000 towards the project and Events Coordinator Tammy Michael has been working to secure donations to cover the remaining costs. If enough funds are secured, the end goal is to have two sets at Mill Race Park and one at River City Park. Currently, the closest parks that offer these safe alternative devices is in Moundsville. “We’re really appreciative of the partnership that we have with St. George Medical Clinic,” said Myers.
Reports began with the acknowledgement that Mayor Dorothy Judy will be proclaiming September as Turn the Towns Teal in recognition of ovarian cancer. A survey was provided outlining the property transfers requested by Shavers Fork Properties, which indicated that both tracts were of the same size of 8,500 square feet. Myers has been working to offer Mill Race Park as an internet hotspot which will assist the students wishing to partake in virtual learning which requires reliable internet service. Attempts were made to claim these costs under the CARES Act, though it did not meet the requirements. A letter of support from Tucker County Schools Superintendent Alicia Lambert was received to assist in these efforts. A quote from The Digital Soup group, which is the vendor used for these services through the City of Parsons, was submitted in the amount of $8,304. Jones asked if this service could be transferred to the Community Center for use during the winter months which Myers responded he is working on that as well. “We’re just trying to make the times we’re in now as best we can for everyone involved,” he said.
The Blueprint Communities team has recently graduated from the program and awarded an additional $3,000 to go towards the Pocket Park project. The group was informed they were also the recipients of over $19,000 through the Capacity Building Grant. These funds will be used to hire three individuals to carry the program forward.
Intent to apply forms was submitted to the W.Va. Department of Transportation Division of Highways for two projects the city wishes to perform. One was for the Corrick’s Ford Battlefield Park Development Project for construction costs in the amount of $250,000, and the other was for the design and construction of the Poplar Street Sidewalk Improvements Project in the amount of $314,000.
The W.Va. Legislature passed Senate Bill 690 Article 13 effective August 7 pertaining to the use of ATV and UTV vehicles being used on roadways, which the City of Parsons voted to adopt the state regulations. Parsons City Police Chief J.E. Kopec has become well versed on the law and ensured the other officers are as well. This bill thoroughly outlines what is permissible and what is not and can be found online at www.wvlegislature.gov and searching for the bill number.
Crews have been working on the Spruce Street sink areas which have been caused by collapsed drain lines and active sewage lines. Work on the main line that has collapsed on Jameson Avenue is also set to begin soon. The new saw for cutting the pipes has been received though it was made known the previously approved price was for the saw alone and did not include the bar or chain, therefore the price was slightly higher.
Activities Coordinator Tammy Michael briefed the council members of the Friday Gift Give Away events that are being held weekly until October 16. Gifts were obtained from numerous businesses throughout the city to serve as prizes for those who register to win by bringing in a food item for the Hinkle House Food Pantry, animal supplies for the Tucker County Animal Shelter, or a new or good, used toy for the Christmas Toy Drive.
Thus far, 48 applications have been received to participate in the hometown heros banners that will be displayed around Veterans Day. Applications are being accepted until September 11 to participate.
Michael was also seeking approval from the council to do the scarecrow contest again this year, set to begin on October 17. Banners are soon to be displayed throughout the city recognizing and thanking the essential workers who have gone above and beyond to keep the community safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councilman Tim Auvil announced that the Parks and Recreation Committee met with Thrasher Engineering at the pond site recently to discuss the desires of the area moving forward. Thrasher will be working on an overall plan including all of these amenities that will give the council an estimate that will assist in the application process of grants. Options relating to the fresh water intake were part of the conversation and how the pond will receive a constant flow of fresh water.
Wellness 24 is currently under 100 active members, however it has gained membership since last month. Elkins Physical Therapy is now working through the facility on a full time schedule, and are paying the city $1,000 per month to use the location. Additional insurance companies and health care plans are being added to the facility which should help residents wanting to participate.
Auvil also suggested that a sign be installed at the stop light that indicates no right turns are to be made from the inside lane. Several near accidents have taken place due to motorists using the parking spaces in front of Stevens Realty as a turning lane when cars are not parked there.
More equipment is being brought in to begin the Parsons Sewer Extension Project. The Parsons Industrial Park Project recently had a meeting with G.S. Millwork who shared their concept on a new business location within the Industrial Park. A topographical map was developed by Thrasher which identified the largest industrial pad being just under four acres, however the company requested five acres. The proposed roadways will be large enough for two semi-trucks to meet safely. “This is a very steep piece of property,” stated Myers, which is presenting itself as difficult to provide building sites. When asked, preliminarily, how many sites would be available for development, Myers responded, “Not as much as we thought.” The hope is to offer three industrial sites and the remaining usable land be offered for residential plots. The drawings and maps are going to be made into a sign that showcases the future site of the Industrial Park..
The second reading of the proposed Garbage Ordinance was performed and clarity was provided stating customers would not see the rate increase until bills received on or around October 1. The city bills their customers 45 days in arrears, with the example of bills received on September 1 were for services obtained July 15 through August 15. Kolsun made the motion to accept the second reading with a second by Jones.
A representative has been requested from the Tucker County Development Authority to represent the City of Parsons. After discussion amongst the council members, former Councilman Steven Sponaugle was called and asked to serve in this capacity. Sponaugle agreed and will be attending these meetings on behalf of Parsons.
New business began with a request to offer sponsorship for the Neil Gutshall Memorial Golf Tournament at Holly Meadows Golf Course on Labor Day Weekend. Jones made a motion to approve with a second by Auvil. The council was also asked to consider sponsoring a Fall Cleanup Event for the residents of Parsons during the week of October 26 through the 30. All members voted in favor of the request.
Under correspondence, a letter was received from the W.Va. Development Office regretfully informing the council that their block grant application to connect with the Hamrick PSD was denied. Though this is unfortunate, work will continue to find a way to fund this project.
With no further business to address, Councilman David Greenlief made a motion to adjourn the meeting with a second by Jones. The next meeting of the Parsons City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, September 1 at 6 p.m.