POINT PLEASANT — The City of Point Pleasant continues to move forward with obtaining funds to tear down an eyesore property on Main Street.
At this week’s meeting of Point Pleasant City Council, City Attorney RF Stein Jr. said he had been working on a letter to the USDA on behalf of the city to hopefully obtain emergency grant funds from the agency for demolition of the Franklin Building, owned by the city, and the former Wallpaper Outlet, which is owned by an individual. Both are in the 300 block of Main Street. Stein told Mayor Brian Billings and council he would be done with the final draft of the letter this week.
As previously reported, the USDA funds were recommended by Charles Humphreys, director of Main Street Point Pleasant, to help the city pay for demolition. The USDA money is from a revolving loan fund and was made available to Main Street Point Pleasant. This is not a loan for the city, but free and clear funds to bring down the structures — the owner of the former Wallpaper Outlet will retain the deed to that specific property.
Last month, council agreed to solicit bids for the demolition work. City Clerk Amber Tatterson said the city had received bids ranging from $78,000 to $299,994, which were all over the city’s budget and rejected. It was suggested to rewrite the bid specifications to no longer include a clause that the contractor carry a type of long-term insurance on the work, with council agreeing on the suggestion, and that it was not necessary for the scope of this particular project. The city was going to advertise for the project again this week with the new specifications which were hoped to lower the demolition costs and still safely bring the structures down.
Also, Billings gave council members a copy of an ordinance from the City of Huntington to review which dealt with vacant buildings and how that may be adopted in Point Pleasant. This discussion is to be on next month’s agenda.
Billings recommended and council voted to advertise for bids to complete the paving of North Main Street.
Council approved taking the police pension fund from $36,000 to $60,000.
Billings reported the Point Pleasant Bike Trail Committee is looking at funding to expand the trail and purchase bike racks for the city to encourage biking.
Billings reported the roof for the Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Point Pleasant and Development Authority offices was done. The cost is around $31,000 but the city had secured a grant for $20,000, which means the remaining $11,000 will be paid for by the three entities just mentioned and the city for the roof repair. This means the cost will be split four ways.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Jones said there had been many complaints about dog owners letting their pets defecate at Gunn Park and other places downtown. Residents are urged to clean up after their pets which is in compliance with the city ordinance.
Councilman Allen Moran asked about the city’s water supply, given the situation in Flint, Mich. Though there is no problem with the water supply in Point Pleasant, Moran said it might be a show of good faith to test the water at local schools, for example, to show the city is proactive. Tatterson and Billings said in addition to testing of the city wells for lead as required by law, Water Operator Steve Gardner also randomly tests other sites on a regular basis for lead with no issues. Still, Billings said it was a good idea and he would touch base with the schools about it, with council in agreement.
Councilman Keith Sargent reported the Haer Bears 4-H Club had benches to donate to Krodel Park and they hadn’t been picked up by the city, yet. Billings said he would get those picked up. Also, Sargent said members of the Mason County Baseball Youth League had asked if it would be possible to use the building at Harmon Park Pool to possibly store equipment, do concessions and/or use the restroom facilities. Sargent said one of the members also suggested using the area as a batting cage. Billings said he would look into that and reiterated he had supported letting the youth league make use of the facility in some way. Sargent said members also expressed an interest in mowing the fields if the city could provide a mower. Billings and council seemed to agree with this, as it would free up employees in the street department.
Also, resident Dee Dee Lovejoy of First Street addressed council about concerns over standing water and drainage issues. She said she has to run a sump pump constantly at her residence and expressed concerns about mosquitoes and other illnesses related to standing water and plugged drains on First Street. Billings said he would speak to someone in the sewer department about the issue this week.
Council approved Randall Hall as the new city inspector. There were eight applicants interviewed with Hall being chosen as the top candidate with council unanimously approving the recommendation. City Accountant Shannon Pearson said Hall was from Point Pleasant, a U.S. Air Force veteran and held several licenses and certifications in relation to welding, contracting, CDL’s. Hall’s appointment is contingent upon passing drug and background checks.
Bridget Bosworth has been hired as a part-time employee in the water office, filling a vacancy.
Clerk Amber Tatterson announced City Wide Clean Up Day as Saturday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to noon. Also, April 11-15 council voted to reduce the rates to $25 for pickup truck and $35 for dump truck, this does not include dumping fees, for residents who would like to get rid of clutter.
Council adjourned into executive session once under West Virginia Code 6-9a-4 with no action taken when reconvening into regular session.
At this week’s meeting were Billings, Tatterson, Stein, Pearson, Administrative Assistant Teka McCauley, Council members Jones, Bob Doeffinger, Moran, Sargent, Elaine Hunt, Charles Garland, Rick Simpkins, Charles Towner.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.