By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Parsons Mayor Dorothy Judy welcomed everyone to the city council meeting on Tuesday, October 16 before reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and an opening prayer. Roll was taken with those present and two attending via conference call.
Tammy Michael addressed council with the upcoming events planned for the community. In the month of October, Parsons will be in the theme of Halloween with a candy walk taking place at Mill Race Park from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday October 27. Rock and pumpkin painting stations will also be offered, and currently forty one groups or individuals have confirmed to participate. Following the candy walk will be the City of Parsons’ Trick or Treat from 6-8 p.m It is requested anyone wishing to participate please “turn on your porch light and be patient”, Michael stated. For individuals over age twenty one, there will be a Halloween Costume Party Dance from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. at the Parsons Fire Hall. Costumes are encouraged to participate in the contests, and all proceeds will contribute to the baseball field lighting project.
The 2018 A Country Christmas parade will be held on December 8 along with several other festivities such as an ugly sweater contest, craft show, Santa beard, wreath, lighting, ornament, and poster contest. Deadlines vary, so if you are interested please reach out to the City of Parsons. Out of the ordinary, due to the new Shop N’ Save location, the parade line up will take place at the football field and the parade will run backwards.
There are efforts in the works to raise funds for the lights at the baseball field, which is estimated to cost $256,000 to complete. A fundraiser was planned; however, lack of interest lead to its cancellation. Those who donated for the event were contacted to return their contribution, yet they insisted their donations be kept to apply towards the goal. Contributors included Mountain Top Realty, Mountain Valley Bank, and Jon Bush. The name of the project has been noted as the Denzel Earl Evans Jr. Lighting Project. Spaghetti dinners were also briefly discussed as possible ways to raise money alongside the TCHS baseball or the men’s softball league, or the consideration of sign sponsors to be displayed along the back side fence that is going to be repaired.
Something new that will be making a debut around the first of the year will be a monthly business spotlight. All businesses will have their own month of highlight and an order will be determined, potentially alphabetical or year establishment. Any business with a business license on file within city limits will eventually be featured as the business of the month.
The reading of the minutes from October 2 was reviewed and approved, as was the expense list. Discussion also commenced to bid on a smaller grader that would be more maneuverable in town for snow removal. “What budget or account would this be out of”, asked Steven Sponaugle. “The rainy day fund and then it will be put back after the old grader is sold”, responded Jason Myers. All agreed to pursue bidding up to $5,000 (to include the 4% bidder fee), and if bid is won, the current grader will be placed for sale.
Employee and committee reports followed, beginning with Tim Auvil. In regards to the Park Board meeting, Auvil stated, “There’s been a lot done over there and more planned”. Auvil will be getting a quote on the fence at the baseball field and new chain nets for the basketball hoops at the River City Park has been purchased. There were also concerns about the wood rotting on the play sets at Mill Race Park making them unsafe. It is intended to convert the wooden play stations over to the metal like sets similar to those at River City. Plans have also been drafted to incorporate mini rocks for climbing and expand the parking lot near the splash pad, creating an additional twenty eight spaces. A new entrance will also be constructed with one way entrance and exit to Mill Race Park that will be safer and more aesthetically pleasing. About one third of the new ice rink has been poured, which they hope will be complete within another week.
Department of Highways issued a verbal agreement to use the concrete that is being dug up from Sheetz as fill. There was a complaint submitted to Charleston stating the city was dumping, so appropriate measures were taken which confirmed everything was being properly done. “When we do things, we do it the right way”, confirmed Myers.
Myers continued with an update with the arrival of BFS. Myers met with the Bishop’s (owners of BFS), and James Rossi with the Division of Highways to outline roadways in town when the Corridor is complete in our area. According to a traffic study performed by the DOH, approximately five thousand vehicles travel through Parsons in a single day. Sheetz has been working to remove their tanks, and the same contractors will be installing newer fiberglass tanks once a soil test is conducted. The store still has to be branded and set up, and it was assured things are moving forward as fast as they can.
Next on the agenda was the status of upholding the property ordinance. Officer Travis Roberts has been driving the city streets and making contacts with those he feels are in violation of the ordinance with tall grass, abandoned cars and RV’s, rotting porches, etc. “For the most part it hasn’t been too bad”, confirmed Roberts. He has been talking with residents one on one making suggestions on improvements needed. If efforts are not made, Roberts will then issue a certified letter requiring immediate action within a deadline, and if they fail to comply the residents will be cited. “We have to stand behind him in enforcing this”, reiterated Myers. Apparently this ordinance has been on the books for quite some time, though enforcement has been lacking. Amy Wagner shared her concern, “In the past things like this haven’t been followed through, and I just want this followed through with”. Roberts replied, “I just want to make sure the council stands behind me and my decision”, as a lot of the “grey area” is considered to be at the officer’s discretion.
A new position listing will be public for the opportunity of a full time patrolman with the lack of interest and qualifications for the chief vacancy. This will be an opportunity for someone with a high school diploma to work their way up from ground level and attend the police academy before their on the job training will commence.
Brief discussion touched on the topics of a blue print community, Mon Forest Group branding, and River Street paving. A proclamation was made to declare November 18-24, 2018 as Christian Heritage Week, which was approved. It was also agreed upon to support the Home Run Rule program, and to promote Travis Roberts from probationary status to part time status with a $1 hourly wage increase.
City Council members partook in an executive session, in which no action was taken, before the meeting was adjourned. The next city council meeting will be on Tuesday, November 13 at 6 p.m. in the Charles W. “Bill” Rosenau Municipal Building. For anyone interested in an item being placed on the agenda for discussion, feel free to contact the Parsons Business Office or feel free to attend the meeting.