Middlebourne revitalization project is underway
Middlebourne City Council met Monday evening at 7 p.m. at the City Building, discussing progress on the Downtown Revitalization Project and listening to concerns from city resident Carolyn Taylor.
Ms. Taylor addressed council in order to gather information concerning a tree on Main Street, “on no-man’s land”, which has two limbs in danger of falling into the street or onto Taylor’s or neighboring property.
“This tree has destroyed the sidewalk in front of our house,” said Taylor. “Is it considered state road property? It’s between the sidewalk and the street. It’s not on my property.”
After listening to Taylor’s description of the area and the issues surrounding the property, City Attorney Gary Rymer advised, “The town is under no obligation to remove it. There’s no responsibility on the town’s part. It’s a perpetual problem when living in city limits.”
“However, you have no liability issues if it is not on your property,” Rymer reassured Taylor.
“Are the limbs already broken?” asked councilwoman Verna Henthorn.
“Yes, there are two ready to fall into the road,” replied Taylor. “Anything that could be done to help, I would appreciate it. It’s not on my property, but it’s leaning my way.”
Council members suggested speaking to other affected property owners and consulting a private individual about trimming the tree limbs. Mayor Fisher indicated she would look into finding someone to help Taylor, but stressed she would be doing so strictly for informational purposes.
Clint Pifer, of C.L. Pifer and Associates, LLC, Parkersburg, the project designer for the Main Street Revitalization Project, spoke to council via speaker phone to go over the progress on the ongoing renovations and upgrades planned.
McClanahan Construction LLC of Poca, WV, general contractor for the project, is currently working on the retaining wall area of the Dollar General Store. The company has been in business for over 20 years and has worked on several similar Main Street Projects.
Pifer addressed some issues with restructuring the wall, and relayed the construction company’s recommendation to add reinforcing. Additional expenses could be incurred, explained Pifer, with a price tag of up to $2,500 for the added work.
“It probably will only cost half of that,” remarked Pifer. “The labor costs are already budgeted in, so the main cost would be in concrete and mesh reinforcing.”
Council approved the added reinforcements for the area, setting a ceiling price of $2,500.
The project is approximately 47 percent complete at this time.
“The contractor’s doing a good job,” remarked Pifer to council. “They are doing quality work.”
Upcoming work includes new water lines to be run from Did’s Designs to Bogg’s Pizza, prior to installation of new sidewalks. Pifer suggested council make a courtesy call to Dominion Hope while this portion of the project is underway, in order they have an opportunity to replace gas lines at the same time (at Dominion’s expense.)
It was decided to do a walk-through of the area in order to ascertain the best location for lines and to forestall any problems. Pifer, Mayor Gayla Fisher, and the general contractor will meet next week to assess plans.
The street lighting is currently being fabricated, noted Mayor Fisher.
“We will have twenty new lights installed,” she said. “Cost for the lights is $3,138.40 each, which includes the poles and circuits.”
The new decorative lighting includes receptacles and a separate timer for holiday lighting. Pifer noted the top portion of the lights (luminaires) are constructed separately from the poles and may take another 12 weeks or more as they are constructed specifically for the project.
Pifer also suggested council consider applying for more grant money while the project is underway. “You may want to speak to Tim (Meeks) about applying,” said Pifer. “Sometimes it’s best to request more funds while the project is underway.”
Council voted to approve payment to Pifer’s fees out of operating expenses and to submit invoices to the state for payment to McClanahan Construction.
In other matters, council approved requests from the Garden Club to hold Trick or Treat on Monday, Oct. 31 from 6-7:30 p.m, with Halloween festivities at the Stealy Center afterwards; and set Sat., Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. as the start time for the Middlebourne Christmas parade, with Santa Claus at the Fire Hall after the parade.
Tyler County High School Alumni Association asked and were granted permission to hold the Alumni weekend parade Oct. 8.