By Bobby Bordelon\r\n\r\nThe upcoming city elections, recent flooding of Island Park, the restructuring of the Rudy\u2019s restoration, and a potential dog park each got ample discussion during the Monday, March 8, Ronceverte City Council meeting.\r\n\r\nMayor David Smith announced he would not be seeking re-election this year.\r\n\r\n\u201cMost of you know that I do not plan to run,\u201d said Smith. \u201cMy 15, 16 years of involvement, with two terms on the council and two terms as mayor, are a really important part for me. I keep thinking of all the projects we\u2019ve gotten done, projects we\u2019re looking to, but shoot- I could stay here until I was 100 years old and [we] would still have projects going. At some point I need to do other things. \u2026 This will make things a little better - I\u2019m going to give up three positions here at the end of June. [That] will give me a good bit of free time to deal with the other 20 [positions I\u2019m involved in].\u201d\r\n\r\nAlthough Smith will not being running, the race for mayor could be competitive. Mentz noted, \u201cI do have three people at this time who have signed up to [run for] mayor and zero so far for council, but we\u2019re early in the game.\u201d Smith voiced support for many of the current councilmembers, should they sign up to run again.\r\n\r\n\u201cI feel like, right now, we have an amazingly strong council,\u201d Smith said. \u201cWe\u2019ve got Kathy King, who is super involved in nonprofits in town, as well as her years of experience with the board of education and being president of the board. Cherie Davis, who serves on a number of committees and heads our library, we\u2019ve got Leah Sills and Deena Pack, who have doctorates of jurisprudence and are involved in a number of activities and things involved in town. Gayle White, who has been mayor before, and is on a number of committees. Hopefully those people are going to run and keep the council strong.\u201d\r\n\r\nBoth Sills and Davis were appointed to fill seats of previous councilmembers, Barbara Morgan and Adam Rosin, respectively.\r\n\r\n***\r\n\r\nGreenbrier County saw a state of emergency due to flooding last week, and Ronceverte was no exception. Island Park saw a huge amount of flooding during and after the rainfall.\r\n\r\n"The flood did a fair amount of damage to the park, especially at the amphitheatre,\u201d Smith said. \u201cThe most that\u2019s probably ever happened, even 2016 didn\u2019t do as much damage as this one did. \u2026 the building and the garden got a few inches, but nothing in the garden itself or in the hightop, thank goodness.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn a door-to-door survey, no Ronceverte residents reported any substantial water damage. City Administrator Pam Mentz noted, \u201cthe water got close but didn\u2019t get into any basements or do any bad damage. Most of the businesses on the avenue got by okay.\u201d\r\n\r\nSmith also complimented the work of city crews both during and after the flooding.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur guys were incredible, they were amazing,\u201d Smith said. \u201cThey jumped right at it. \u2026 Literally the next day, after the water got off the park, they had cleaned up all the debris. The mud is still there, and they are working on that. The debris is gone, other than the leaves and some stone.\u201d\r\n\r\n***\r\n\r\nDuring citizen\u2019s comment, Chris and Jorge Rodriguez-Stanley announced they would be returning to Los Angeles in several months, revising the plan for <a href="https:\/\/mountainmessenger.com\/couple-purchases-begins-restoring-old-rudys-building-in-downtown-ronceverte\/">the Rudy\u2019s restoration project.<\/a>\r\n\r\n\u201cBecause <a href="https:\/\/mountainmessenger.com\/rudys-renovation-on-hold-due-to-concerns-over-neighboring-building\/">of the delay and all the stuff happening<\/a>, we\u2019re going to be going back to Los Angeles at the beginning of June,\u201d said Chris Rodriguez-Stanley. \u201cWe still are committed to the project and bringing the building back, it\u2019s just that, given the circumstances, that\u2019s what we\u2019re going to have to do right now. \u2026 We have to regroup and start again.\u201d\r\n\r\nChris Rodriguez-Stanley looked, in the meantime, to join the efforts in getting a dog park in the city, saying \u201cin the next three months while I\u2019m here, [I want to] work on getting a dog park in Ronceverte. We would be the only park in the county, the only park in the region. It would bring people here.\u201d\r\n\r\nSills expressed support for the project.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think that is a great idea, getting in a dog park,\u201d Sills said. \u201cI\u2019m sorry things aren\u2019t working out with your building, but that you\u2019re still committed to sticking with Ronceverte and seeing it out at some point. Thanks for all your great ideas and your enthusiasm.\u201d\r\n\r\nPrevious discussions around a park have begun, but have not been finalized.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe Bendix location would be a good location to be able to put a dog park at some point, once that gets done,\u201d said Chris Rodriguez-Stanley. \u201cAlso the space \u2026 behind the basketball courts and behind the skate park, and whatever area behind there \u2026 already. I know that there is legal situation, there\u2019s more than just the fundraising part of it, but I am fully prepared to take on the fundraising. I was contacted by a local group that was wanting to get involved in the dog park project already who have some fundraising experience.\u201d\r\n\r\nNoting some potential issues the project has already faced, Smith thanked Chris Rodriguez-Stanley for taking it on.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe problem [with the basketball court area] is property lines get really [hazy] there,\u201d Smith said. \u201c\u2026 It can be difficult, \u2026 folks could never find it. \u2026 [However, right now] people do walk their dogs in the ball field, which is not good because we\u2019ve got ... folks who don\u2019t clean up, even though we\u2019ve got things for them to clean up all over the park. \u2026 But we\u2019ve got some other places and we can definitely do some looking. Thank you all.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn other business:\r\n\r\n- Work on the city\u2019s water project continues. Engineer Bob Hazelwood with E.L. Robinson explained work is ongoing on Walker Street and on West Edgar, between Maple and Cedar streets. About 200 feet of pipe were laid on Monday and contractors, Lynch Construction and Pro Contracting, are \u201cnot having any problems or issues with the existing water lines or utilities.\u201d\r\n\r\n- The council could return to in-person meetings next month, depending on vaccinations and comfort level with social distancing and masks.