By Peggy Mackenzie
An item especially aimed at the press during the Tuesday night Lewisburg City Council meeting was designed to be sure to let the citizenry know that, according to a new West Virginia state regulation, fireworks are expressly not allowed within municipal limits. Mayor John Manchester clarified that although sales of fireworks will be available at locations around the state, the state leaves the burden of fireworks prohibition to the municipalities, with the exception of such novelty items as sparklers and “worms.”
“Old buildings are just too susceptible to fire,” Manchester said. The city will post a press release next week to increase public awareness of the new state regulation.
In other business:
~ Council member Josh Baldwin said the Tuesday night, June 7, parks commission meeting was held at Dorie Miller Park with more than a dozen local residents attending to discuss traffic safety issues and to reimagine the park activity layout. Large maps were laid out on picnic tables as aids. Baldwin said the long-term plan is to turn Dorie Miller into a “destination play park” with state-of-the-art play equipment. It was evident that Dorie Miller Park is a heavily used park. Even at 7 p.m. that evening, every facet of the park was in use.
The immediate issue addressed by the attending group centered on the fear that an accident is bound to happen at the intersection where the small parking area next to Shelter No.1 meets the curve onto Maple Street. Vehicles often speed around the corner threatening to harm youngsters, said many attending the meeting. Traffic-calming measures are needed at Maple Street and Feamster Avenue, and more police traffic control after ball games, Baldwin reported. Those remarks were echoed by council member Joseph Lutz later in the meeting during his report from the public safety committee.
Plans were also discussed to remove Shelter No.1 and the adjacent parking area and install a new shelter down near the lower parking lot in view of the playground area and basketball courts. Enlarging the remaining shelter on the bluff above the ball field was also explored, together with adding a new parking lot accessed through the city’s public works roadway.
As grant funding continues to come in, Public Works Director Roger Pence said, sidewalks will be installed, which likely will increase the safety of walkers to the park. At the park meeting, area athlete and co-owner of Country Roads Crossfit Bimbo Coles announced that the Bolling Center will soon be hosting sports events, making parking more of an issue as parking is at a premium in the area.
~ The finance committee, reported council member Mark Etten, approved a contract to begin construction of sidewalks for south Court Street for $57,000. That project should begin in the near future, he said.
Also approved were renewal contracts with the Mills Group to serve as architectural consultants for the the city’s historic landmarks commission, as was grant writer Doug Hylton’s contract with the city.
Etten said the Lynch property, which borders the Greenbrier River, was approved for purchase by the city for $75,000. The purchase will allow the city to relocate the water intake site up river from the Greenbrier County Landfill.
~ Pence reported that as a result of a citizen’s report about a sinkhole in the Crowfields neighborhood, the public works department was able to repair a 200,000 to 300,000 gallon-a-day water leak. The depression didn’t look like much, but after digging down about 10 feet, a one-inch pipe from an old, failed “stub-out” was found to have caused the leak. Pence said the next day the city water tank gained 12 feet of water.
If more residents could report to City Hall whenever they notice something unusual, it would be a service to the city, said Etten.
~ At the Public Safety meeting, Lutz reported on the deteriating condition of Lewisburg Fire Station No. 1 at Foster Street. A crack was discovered in the north east corner revealing a view of the open sky. Equipment is at risk, Fire Chief Wayne Pennington had said. A new site for the station has been an on-going research project, Lutz said.