Maintenance building project on hold in White Sulphur Springs
By Peggy Mackenzie
For several months now the town council of White Sulphur Springs has pushed hard to get a much needed, new maintenance building. “It is absolutely necessary,” stated Mayor Lloyd Haynes during a press meeting in January.
Last month, in moving forward on the project, the council voted to approve hiring a bond counsel to handle the financials for the construction phase, but at that meeting, citizens complained that the cost of the structure was “out of sight.” It became apparent, during the Monday, Apr. 13, meeting that that opinion was held by some council members as well. Mayor Lloyd Haynes announced that the council has established a five-member “team” to brainstorm ideas for lowering the originally estimated $1.7 million cost of construction for a new building and/or to reconsider other building options in and around the city to accommodate or retrofit for the maintenance department’s facility needs.
In other business:
• A disgruntled resident presented a grievance over the number of run-down and/or abandoned structures in the town that never seemed to be cleaned up. Four years ago, he said, he and several of his neighbors presented a petition to the city asking for redress of three such structures on his street. After four years, he complained, the problem structures are still there. The yards are unmowed, trash is present, and skunks and other vermin use them as habitats. The end result is that those buildings reflect negatively on the up kept homes nearby.
While council member Bruce Bowling was sympathetic, he said the ordinance covering abandoned and neglected structures is still being studied to make it a stronger, more effective document by city attorney Steve Hunter. Currently, when the city sends a letter to landlords to clean up their properties, the landlords simply pay the fine rather than take active responsibility for the problems the neighbors see every day.
It was suggested that the nuisance clause might be used as an effective pressure for closure on the issue, which the police department use by ticketing homeowners for not mowing their lawns or if trash is not removed.
• Kathy Glover presented a bright spot in the meeting’s agenda by announcing that the annual Dandelion Festival and Pageant has been set for May 22 through 24. She said this year there are a wide variety of fun events planned for everyone, including: an arts and crafts show at the library on Friday, which will be a benefit for the library (and is the only ticketed event during the festival), serving wine, cheese and music. Several bands will be playing throughout the day on Saturday, meanwhile, the Throttle Throb Car Show will be presented, also a turkey gobble contest and corn hole games, a clogging group will entertain, as will a Dandy Legs competition. To honor the vets, a veterans-only BBQ will be held on Sunday, also a gospel sing, and disc golfing at Harts Run. The festival parade will be at 5 p.m. on Ingleside Avenue, and fireworks will close the festival on Sunday night.
Glover said fundraisers for the festival will be offered: on Apr. 30 a dinner is scheduled at April’s from 5 to 8 p.m., and on May 2 there will be a Dandy Boot Drive on Main Street. She asked the council to sponsor the $500 scholarship for the pageant queen, which they approved.
• Council also approved $1,833 to go to the Mountain Transit Authority and $1,000 for the Little League Youth Recreation fund request to cover leaguers’ shirts, hats and pants purchases.
• On Tuesday, April 21 at 9 a.m., the council will vote to lay the levy. The public is invited.