On Tuesday, the Greenbrier County Commission voted to approve the county’s arts and recreation committee’s recommendations for the 2017-2018 grant cycle. According to Arts and Recreation Director Roy Grimes, those funding allotments will be published once the recipients have been notified.
Before asking for a vote to approve the allocations, Commission President Woody Hanna inserted another request for funds from the arts and rec account. He said, “The number one project for White Sulphur Springs is the repair or replacement of the municipal swimming pool,” which suffered extensive damage during the flooding last summer. Having received a request by White Sulphur Springs city officials for “seed money,” Hanna said he “tweaked” the arts and recreation committee’s recommendations to provide a substantial amount for the pool, clearing out $85,000 from the committee’s recommendations.
In addition, Hanna added another $165,000 from the arts and rec fund to deliver a total of $250,000 for the pool. The Spa City, he said, has secured an unlimited matching-fund grant to restore the city pool, which has been closed for three years, and was set to cost between $2 million to $3 million. Present at the Tuesday morning commission meeting were WSS Mayor Lloyd Haynes, city administrator Linda Coleman and council member and parks commissioner Audrey Van Buren.
The vote for the grant allotments was 2/1 with Commissioner Mike McClung opposed.
In other business:
- The Greenbrier PSD #2 water extension project to Sam Black Church is still seeking residential sign ups for water access in the western end of the county. Executive Director John Tuggle said they have gone door to door to get signatures in order to get 80 percent to commit to the project. They have only received half of the signatures so far. As Tuggle said, the last time he came before the commission, the project can only create an alternate route if not enough people on a particular line don’t join in. But, he said, to the consternation of the commission, who were in favor of adding a waterline from Rainelle to Charmco where there are a number of potential customers for water, the project cannot add another waterline to the funding package.
As a result of the low commitment from the western end for water access, Tuggle was concerned that the project may be in jeopardy of being abandoned, and that the funding, through a HUD Small Cities Block Grant, will be used up in engineer costs without delivering a west end water supply source. Tuggle asked the commission for a draw of $97,900, nearly half of the $200,000 grant from HUD.
“I hate to see us incur engineering costs if the project is in jeopardy,” said McClung, but he and his fellow commissioners approved the draw unanimously.
- Janet Spry, with the 2020 census local update of census addresses operation (LUCA), asked the commission to participate in reviewing the U.S. Census bureau’s residential address list for their jurisdiction prior to the 2020 Census. An accurate address list is critical to federal funding, she said, so that local communities are sure to get their fair share of support funds and also to how many seats West Virginia gets in Congress, based on population count.
- Suzanne Williams, a spokesperson for National Alliance for Mental Awareness, spoke in support of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, and the need for identifying behavioral health risks and generating support for effective treatment so that those diagnosed with a mental illness can live full, productive lives.
- Kara Dense, executive director of the Greenbrier Valley Visitors Center, announced National Travel and Tourism Week, May 7-13.
- The commission approved an allocation of $4,000 to the Mountain Transit Authority (MTA).
- Laura Legg, director of the Day Report Center, asked for approval to hire Kimberly Withrow as a billing specialist.