POINT PLEASANT — Point Pleasant City Council is attempting to move forward with getting rid of the gift this administration says it never wanted.
The Franklin building, once the home of downtown businesses, has become not only an eyesore that was donated to the city, but a hazard.
At this week’s meeting of Point Pleasant City Council, Mayor Brian Billings said he had spoken to Charles Humphreys, director of Main Street Point Pleasant, to see if any grant funds were available for the building’s demolition. At one time, Humphreys had indicated to council he may have some funds available to assist with the building, which rests in the middle of a downtown area Main Street Point Pleasant is trying to beautify.
Billings said though Humphreys has no grant funds, he had pointed the city to a USDA revolving loan fund to help pay for the building’s demolition. Due to the building’s structural condition, Humphreys said the city would likely qualify for emergency approval. Billings asked City Attorney RF Stein Jr. to contact the USDA office in writing about the program and council decided to bid out the demolition in optimistic anticipation of getting money to take down the building. Billings said something needed to be done soon, with an adjoining business complaining about the Franklin building actually damaging their building.
Stein said he would have to verify if the city still had an agreement with the owner of the former wallpaper store, which adjoins the Franklin building, to demolish that building as well, while the owner of the wallpaper store building would retain the deed to that piece of property.
In all, it’s hoped the demolition will not only remove a hazardous eyesore, but open up space for economic development on Main Street.
In other council news:
Councilman Bob Rulen spoke about the overhaul of the walking trail at Krodel Park, saying the project is now in the hands of the West Virginia Department of Highways to negotiate engineering fees. The first phase of the upgrade is to widen the walking trail, pave it and do work to help prevent areas prone to flooding. An eventual phase will be switching over to LED lights and possibly to even pave the river trail behind the flood wall, to add more recreational and healthy options for citizens. Developing and paving the walking trail behind the flood wall will be dependant on the availability of funds but council voted to approve this idea, again, dependent on the money being found to do it. Rulen abstained from the vote.
Billings announced a Governor’s Community Participation Program grant had been received by the city for $10,000 to go towards its share of replacing the roof at the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development and Main Street Point Pleasant offices on Main Street. All entities were to share in the cost of the roof replacement estimated at $30,000.
Billings said both he and Rulen had met with Hurricane officials about its city’s spray park to get ideas on how to get funding together for a similar one proposed for Krodel Park. Billings said the city continues to move forward with this idea and his office had applied for at least one grant already to help fund the park.
At this week’s meeting: Billings, City Clerk Amber Tatterson, Stein, City Accountant Shannon Pearson, Administrative Assistant Teka McCauley, Council members Rulen, Janet Hartley, Charles Towner, Elizabeth Jones, Bob Doeffinger, Allen Moran, Keith Sargent, Elaine Hunt, Rick Simpkins.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.