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Park and Pool activities top Council discussions

By Staff | Jul 16, 2014

An executive session at the end of Monday’s Sistersville Council meeting to discuss an unnamed civil suit lasted over an hour.

At the end of the closed-door session, council voted unanimously to approve discovery answers and appoint Councilman Richard Long to sign the documents on behalf of the city. The meeting then adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Sistersville Mayor Bill Rice was not in attendance at Monday’s council meeting; Recorder Kari Huffman said he was in the hospital. Consequently, she presided over the meeting.

After the pledge of allegiance to open the nearly three-hour meeting, Pastor Bill Dawson said a prayer for Rice, council, city workers, and unity in the city.

Other city officials not in attendance at Monday’s meeting were Councilmembers Bryan Owens, Rachel Marrin, and Mark Klages; Police Chief Ben Placer, who was said to be injured; and Attorney Carolyn Flannery. Councilmembers in attendance were Phil Konopacky, Harold Dally, Mitch Corley, Bonnie Hizer, and Long.

Prior to the executive session about the lawsuit, Parks and Pool Commissioner Audist Pancake asked for an executive session to discuss a personnel issue. It lasted about 20 minutes and did not result in any action from council.

A Sistersville Music and Car Show will be held July 26-27 at the park. Alex King, at the meeting on behalf of Josh Rice, who is doing the event independently from the park committee, sought and received council’s permission for the event. The money raised will go toward the creation of a splash park at the city pool.

In conjunction with that project, Pancake sought and received council’s approval to move the fence at the pool to accommodate a larger grassy area for sunbathing. That will take place once the pool closes for the fall.

She said the proposed splash park would be installed on the grassy area near the baby pool. “If it happens, they will take a lot of area from where people lay out,” noted Pancake.

“It would cost absolutely no money, just a little bit of labor and sweat,” she said.

The park and pool board will also get estimates at take pine trees down behind the pool. Councilman Long asked if the city owns the trees. David Pancake said the adjacent owner verified that they are on the city’s side of the property line and she would also like to see them taken down. He noted the pine needles are only doing damage to the pool and its equipment.

“As you all know, we’re movers and shakers down there this year,” said Audist Pancake.

At Councilman Dally’s prompting, Audist Pancake also mentioned a special event to be held at the pool on Aug. 3. At 1 p.m. that day the Sistersville IGA will be providing a free picnic for “Family Day” at the pool. While admission will be the same as usual, patrons will be treated to a free meal and, undoubtedly, a festive atmosphere.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Audist Pancake.

“It will be a great day in the park,” echoed Dally.

Another great day in the park was the Picnic in the Park held July 6. Audist Pancake said there were 205 people at the pool that day, when admission was just $1.

She offered a special “thank you” to Councilwoman Hizer for her help during the Picnic in the Park.

An agenda item labeled “Boat Docks Overnight Parking” was answered by Commissioner Grimes. The city thought they had to do a fee for overnight parking, but have discovered that is not the case.

The dock at the city park is designed for transient boat traffic. “It is a courtesy dock that was funded by the Department of Natural Resources,” said Grimes.

Overnight parking, on a temporary, visitor basis, is welcomed.

In another parks matter, council approved the opening of a fund, to be supervised by the park and pool committee, for a skate park.

The matter was brought up by King, who said the idea of a skate park had been talked about for many years.

“I think now, more than ever, that is needed and could bring people in to the park,” said King.

There are skaters who currently use the park and, he said, so far they have been respectful and only use the appointed basketball court for their activities.

David Pancake said the park and pool committee had talked to the city’s insurance carrier about it several months ago and they are covered for now. If an actual park was built, it would be fenced and locked, only open when there is a manager on duty.

Speaking on behalf of the project, James Lehew said he moved to Sistersville from Baltimore, Md., in 2010. In the area of his former home the community built a skate park and it took some people involved in a bad scene and put their energy into another interest-skating. Consequently the drug rate went down.

Lehew doesn’t actually skateboard, but ride BMX bicycles. Currently he has to go to Parkersburg, Marietta, or Pittsburgh to ride BMX in such parks.

“A hometown park would mean everything to me,” said Lehew.

In an unrelated park matter, Councilman Dally wants to have the city attorney check the deed for Hubbard Park, located behind the post office, and see what the city’s options are. It was suggested he check with Attorney Ryan Morgan who had worked on the matter.

Council approved the 2014-15 budget of the Sistersville Planning Commission. When the $700 per month from the city fee is added their current treasury of $26,359.58, the commission has a total of $34,759.58 total to work with this year. Their budget was approved as $12,000 for city park/riverfront, $12,000 for beautification, and $10,759.58 toward miscellaneous community projects.

Finally, council approved the closure of Charles Street from state Route 2 to Wells Street on Aug. 9 for a street celebration hosted by The Wells Inn. Dally brought the request to council. He said he did not know the hours of the even. Sistersville Police Officer Alex Northcraft asked that they contact the SPD before the event to coordinate police assistance for the closure.