By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Shavers Fork Properties presented a request to lease a parcel from the City of Parsons that borders the property they recently switched for. “It’s not going to have any structures on it, it’s basically going to be an access into the river is what they’re doing,” City Administrator Jason Myers explained. Councilwoman Melissa Jones questioned, “If it’s something to do with the city, with that boat launch and everything, why do we need to lease that to them.” Myers stated that this will go with their plans of development in that area and Mayor Dorothy Judy said the city won’t have the expenses. Discussion was held relating to who was in charge of putting in the other river accesses and where the materials and funds stemmed from, leading Jones to ask why those entities aren’t being contacted to transform this location into a more ideal access for the city.
Jones added, “If they have it leased, they have probable cause to say what it’s going to be used for, who’s going to use it, instead of the city.” Judy said, “Jason, explain to them, they’re putting picnic tables in.” Myers stated, “This was just going to compliment that (the cabin development) and it’s going to be used for everybody.” Councilman David Greenlief asked if it would be dubbed a public stream access; to which Judy responded, “Absolutely.” Councilwoman Amy Wagner suggested leaving the property in the city’s name and making it a public access. “Well, then the city can pay for it and put the picnic tables and stuff,” Judy replied. Jones commented that there are groups that assist in these kinds of developments that could help offset the costs. Councilman Michael Matlick added opening that area up as a better access should not be a big expense. Myers said the geogrids are the biggest expense with a project such as this along with the gravel. Judy asked for a motion on the item which Recorder Bruce Kolsun offered to deny the request to lease the property with a second from Jones. Wagner, Greenlief, and Matlick voted in agreement with Councilman Tim Auvil saying, “Naye, I vote naye.” “Good for you,” responded Judy.
The minutes from October 1 were approved with a motion from Auvil and Jones.
Financial Administrator Danielle Sponaugle presented an invoice list one in the amount of $48,130.46 which was approved with a motion by Auvil and a second from Matlick. All members voted in favor.
Myers provided quotes needing final approval, the first being for equipment needed to outfit the Council Chambers for online meeting platforms when needed. This $1,887 plus labor expense will be submitted to the CARES Act for reimbursement. Auvil made the motion to approve the quote including installation with a second by Kolsun.
The second quote is to tie in the older camera systems into the new, 4K system that is throughout the park. Kolsun made the motion to approve the quote for $1,636.99 with a second by Auvil and all in favor. A quote to install cameras at the Community Center followed in the amount of $4,523.92 with a motion by Wagner and a second from Kolsun.
Auvil provided a report from the Parks and Recreation Committee, stating a gravel parking lot is in construction. “We’re also going to be putting in anti-slip materials on the front steps,” he continued along with outdoor lighting. Even though two piers were replaced before installing the new floor, it has become evident that more are in need of repair as the floor is sinking. Options are being discussed and researched to determine the best avenue to take care of the issue.
A ZOOM meeting with Thrasher Engineering recently took place relating to the Pulp Mill Bottom Pond project. “It looks like we shouldn’t refill that pond until Spring because we’ve got to get the work done in there first,” he added. Piers are needed to support the bridge prior to the refill and it is difficult to get treated lumber at this time. They spoke with Wendell Hofer, the Fish and Wildlife Specialist, on potential species of fish that will be stocked and the habitat they need. “So everybody needs to be aware that it’s not going to be done this year, it’s an ongoing project,” Auvil said.
Focus shifted to the 50 foot bridge that was donated to the city for the pond and the repairs needed before installation over the water. It is unknown if the Tygart Valley Conservation District will be able to set the bridge using two excavators or if a crane will be needed to handle the job.
Jones shared concerns over the condition of the bridge after her husband, with over 30 years of experience in the iron field, looked at the structure. She suggested disassembling the bridge and making all needed repairs and then reassembling to ensure safety. Jones also asked, “Since it’s in a municipality, will there have to be a state inspection on the welds?” “No, because we’re just using it for pedestrians,” replied Judy.
Myers is engaging in a meeting with a lighting specialist to discuss lighting the new entrance at Mill Race Park. This was built into the budget. The mats, flooring cover, and the mirrors have all been delivered for the dance and martial arts classes at the Community Center. The tables and chairs will be delivered in the near future.
A raw water pump motor malfunctioned and is in repair and may be under warranty. The accountant is nearly ready to submit the Public Service Commission report to the PSC, and the garbage truck is back in the shop. Multiple issues were discovered and unfortunately this model truck is not part of the manufacturer buy back program.
PRO On-Trac has been seeking out bids to finish the construction of the first floor of the PRO Plaza Building. The lowest bid was received by Roberts Estates with a desire to complete the project by Christmas. “I’m really excited to see what transpires there,” Myers proclaimed. The Blueprint Community has an upcoming meeting to discuss the Comprehensive Plan. The Pocket Park Committee, consisting of Myers, Judy, Cindy Kolsun, and Sponaugle, met with the Mills Group to review the design plan. They were unaware that the building had been demolished and did not take that into account in their design. New options are being developed which will be subject to public input and then City Council has the final say.
St. George Medical Clinic is constructing a new drive thru pharmacy in the former Performance Motors new car area. The surveyor was using the Shop N’ Save lot as a guide, which is built out of the flood plain, but upon further investigation it was discovered that lot is within the floodplain. The original plan was to put the facility on a block foundation with flood vents, however in order to meet guidelines it would need to be elevated six feet. Myers spoke with the W.Va. Flood Plain Administrator who agreed to allow four feet since the design was changed to be constructed upon fill dirt. “So they’re going to be built on a mound of dirt over there,” said Myers with nice landscaping that will be aesthetically pleasing.
Myers stated that there will be no changes in PEIA for plan year 2022 and are awaiting proposals to come in to determine if Humana will remain in partnership. The scarecrow contest is ongoing with several creative entries. Proofs have been done for the Veteran banners and installation is hopeful for the beginning of November. With over 90 banners, the park will be used and more than two banners will be on each pole. Councilman David Greenlief suggested extending the banners down Route 72 to the Parsons entrance sign. Wagner proposed using the park as a fallen soldier for World War I and II Veterans and offering a memorial walk. The Veterans drive thru appreciation diner is in preparation stages and delivery will be available. Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact the Parsons City Office.
The Parsons Sewer Extension Project has all of the sewage lines installed and are waiting for the pumps and other supplies to come in to complete the project. Once the materials are received the project will be complete within a couple weeks. Thrasher Engineering will be meeting with the sewage department to discuss the tie in options of River City Park in order to abandon the old line that runs underneath the baseball field.
Rob Burns met with Myers recently with two prospects for the Parsons Industrial Park. Currently the property is in the city’s name, but they cannot sell property. Myers will be contacting the city attorney to discuss the process of turning the property over to the Parsons Economic Development Authority, which is overseen by the City Council. Myers stated a similar action was taken between the Tucker County Commission and their Industrial Park. The contract will be written such as the agreement with PRO that states upon dissolution of that group, the property returns back into the name of the city.
Kolsun read a resignation letter submitted by Bernard “Pete” Thompkins, which was regretfully accepted unanimously. A letter of interest in filling that position came in from Anthony DiBartolomeo, who is currently employed part time by the city. Jones and Wagner made the motions to approve with all in favor.
The next meeting of the Parsons City Council will be Tuesday, November 17 at 6 p.m.