Wellsburg proceeds on town square

WELLSBURG – City Council on Tuesday moved by a 4-3 vote to proceed with renovations to the city’s town square, contingent upon an investigation by city crews to determine whether rebar is in the concrete below the square.

Gabe Hays of Hays Landscape Architecture Studio of St. Clairsville told council the rebar would raise the cost of replacing concrete on the square that has deteriorated since the square was built in 1985.

Plans also called for bricks in the square’s brick walkways to be re-set or replaced, as needed; the trench drains to be replaced; and a small park to be established in the city parking lot overlooking the Ohio River.

Hays told council the project would cost about $465,640 if the concrete was replaced with brick and $438,663 if it was replaced with new concrete.

First Ward Councilman Bruce Hunter, 3rd Ward Councilman Randy Fletcher and 4th Ward Council members Della Serevicz and Charles Harris voted to replace the concrete with brick.

First Ward Councilman Mike Mitchell and 2nd Ward Councilmen Paul T. Billiard and Brian Tennant voted against it, saying they believe repairs to city hall, which has had leaks, should be addressed first.

Third Ward Councilman Tom R. Diserio wasn’t present.

All of council agreed to remove the overlook park, bringing the project’s estimate down to $333,361.

Simonetti said the city has been awarded a $366,000 grant for the square, with an $80,000 match required from the city.

Also on Tuesday:

Simonetti administered the oath of office to Andrea Morris, new city clerk. A Wellsburg native and 1998 graduate of Brooke High School, Morris previously worked as a dental assistant.

She said she applied for the job because it allows her to spend time with her husband and four young children.

Morris was appointed to serve the remainder of the unexpired term of Mary Blum, who resigned after serving 10 years. Morris said she plans to run for the office in next year’s city election.

Council approved an ordinance raising filing fees for candidates for all city offices by $10. As a result, candidates for police chief and collector-treasurer will pay $40; candidates for mayor and city clerk will pay $30; and candidates for council seats will pay $20.

The fees will go into effect with the city’s 2015 elections.

Council agreed to table a proposed amendment to an ordinance holding property owners responsible for their sidewalks. The amendment states property owners must see that ice and/or snow are cleared from their sidewalks by 11 a.m. on the same day, but Henne said some residents voiced concerns about that time element.