John Manchester, the Mayor of Lewisburg, presented a year-end summary of 2014 at the monthly council meeting Tuesday evening with a listing of the city’s main activities, accomplishments, and challenges. In so doing, he offered thanks to the commitment of the community, merchants, arts organizations, nonprofits, churches, educational institutions and property-owners. Likewise, the city employees, volunteers and council members, as well as the media.
“We live in a fine community, one that is the envy of many others in the state and around the country,” he wrote. “Fine communities do not happen by chance; they happen because a wide variety of people work hard to make it that way.”
Many of the items that follow have been reported upon already in the media, but it is useful to list the city’s improvements in one place:
• Completed construction of new clarifier at water plant
• Water crews completed all commercial water change-overs along 219 from Lee Street to 1-64
• Continued process to relocate water system intake to a location upstream of the landfill Initiated valve exerciser program for water system
• Purchased new backhoe
• City water system received 2013 Water Fluoridation Quality Award
• Built sidewalk and reduced stormwater runoff problems on corner of North Jefferson and Randolph Streets
• Partnered with the Greenbrier Valley Visitors Center on sidewalk replacement, corner beautification and addition of artistic bike racks
• Added streetlights along North Court and North Jefferson Streets
• Began and nearly completed mini-park in front of Greenbrier Real Estate on East Washington Street
• Replaced a section of sidewalk along Greenbrier Avenue
Parks & Recreation
• Re-seeded football and baseball fields
• Installed new score board at the football field
• Installed recycling containers at Hollowell Park
• Worked closely with Lewisburg in Bloom committee in preparation for judges’ visit and application submission
• City received additional $125,000 grant from WV Department of Highways for L&R Trail extension south along Rt. 219. Matching grant of $31,250 provided by Greenbrier County Commission.
• Department responded to 774 requests of service
• Received Award notification from FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant of $70,044 for future purchase of: 5,000 feet of 5” Large Diameter Supply Hose; 2,800 feet of 2 1/2” attack/supply hose; 2,500 feet of 13/4” attack hose; and three Thermal Imaging Cameras
• Received $3600 matching grant monies from US Justice Department to purchase body armor for all 12 uniformed officers
• Received grant funds totaling $4,585.26 for purchase of one Martel in-Car video camera, one Kustom radar unit and three flashlights at no cost to the city. This grant was received from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
• New pay scale for police officers adopted to improve officer retention Replaced three older vehicles with 2014 Ford Explorers
• Provided traffic control for the PGA golf tournament and WV State Fair
• Sponsored the 7th annual “Dare to Cruz” car show in September, bringing visitors and participants downtown while raising funds for the DARE program
Planning and Zoning
• Hired E. Ray Still as Building Official in March of 2014
• Adopted new International Code Council building codes
• Issued 185 Building Permits
• Conducted over 250 building inspections
• Collected $22,500 in permit fees
• Hired Charles Smith as Zoning Official in March of 2014
• Continued work to update the Lewisburg Comprehensive Plan with the help of WVU College of Law
• Updated forms to implement Vacant Structure Ordinance
• Refined and improved forms for building permit process to better serve the public
• Developed commercial building plan review process
• Facilitated commercial energy audits being performed for downtown businesses. Energy audit of city hall done as part of the project.
• Pressed tin ceiling in lobby of city hall was scraped and repainted. New LED lights and fixtures installed in lobby.
• Repointed and repainted East wall of city hall
• Lewisburg received special recognition for its Landscaped Areas at the national America in Bloom Symposium in Philadelphia
• City signed long term lease with City National Bank to allow construction of stone surfaced plaza area expansion of downtown Center Greenspace
• Lewisburg received two awards, the “Vision for Tomorrow” award and the “Community Enrichment” award at the West Virginia Municipal League Conference in Bridgeport, Aug. 13-15, 2014. Both awards cited the city’s partnership of Montwell Park in the Montwell Park project at the former site of the Fort Savannah Inn on Jefferson Street.
• Simplified business license fee structure
• Increased annual funding for library from $3,200 to $10,000
• City prepared and submitted an application to be a Phase II Home Rule City. We were not selected.
• Replaced all four Welcome to Lewisburg signs using Hamilton Family Foundation grant funding ($6,313)
• Continuing to make major improvements at the water treatment plant and distribution system
• Replacing Fire Station #1.