WELLSBURG - City Council has moved forward with plans to improve the brick sidewalk along a block of Charles Street and the Town Square.
On Tuesday, council authorized City Manager Mark Henne and Solicitor Bill Cipriani to negotiate a proposed $120,000 contract with Land Planning and Design Associates of Sterling, Va., to plan restoration of the brick sidewalks on Charles Street from Sixth to Seventh streets and the brick sections of the town square.
The city was awarded a $164,000 grant from the West Virginia Department of Transportation to restore the walks and add crosswalks, benches and trash cans. Plans call for the brick to be lifted and reset.
The move was approved by 1st Ward Councilman Bruce Hunter, 2nd Ward Councilmen Paul T. Billiard and Ron Michaux and 4th Ward Council members Jeff Tarr and Della Serevicz.
It was opposed by 3rd Ward Councilman Randy Fletcher and 1st Ward Councilman Mike Mitchell.
Third Ward Councilman Tom Diserio didn't attend the meeting.
Fletcher questioned the engineer's distance from the city, a concern that also was raised by Billiard. Mitchell questioned the need for an engineer, saying it would be less costly to hire a contractor only for the project.
Simonetti said the committee that interviewed the engineers selected LPDA because it had designed the town square and representatives of the company said they would be working with Triad Engineering of Morgantown during the project. She said an engineer is required because the project is being funded by a state grant. Mitchell said he's not convinced the project wouldn't be less costly to the city if city officials returned the grant and used its own funds to pay a contractor.
Asked about the $41,000 local match required of the grant, Simonetti said $25,500 has been set aside from money donated by Chesapeake Energy and other funds, and LPDA has agreed to assist in seeking other funds for the match.
Simonetti, who obtained the grant, said she has applied for another grant to restore the brick walks on Charles from Seventh to Eighth streets and plans to apply for another for those from Eighth to Ninth.
There had been a proposal to charge property owners along the street for 20 percent of the cost to restore the section of sidewalk in front of their buildings. But Simonetti said there are no plans to do that at this time, and the city plans to seek funds elsewhere.
Agreed to hire Yost Excavating of Wellsburg, at a cost of $2,500, to remove playground equipment at the former St. John School that has been donated to the city by St. John Catholic Church. Henne said the equipment may be stored temporarily before being installed at the 4th Ward Park.
Learned the city has been awarded a second $5,000 brownfield assessment grant to determine the feasibility of using the former Brooke Glass factory for other purposes. Simonetti said Ryan Weld, chairman of the city's redevelopment authority, delivered an outstanding presentation, with the help of John Brown of the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, that led to the city being selected from several applicants.
Agreed to close City Hall on Christmas Eve at the request of Henne, who noted it had been slated to be opened for a half day.
Simonetti and Billiard praised volunteers involved in decorating the town square for Christmas and City Hall Clerk Dena Furioli and Councilman Tarr for decorating Central Park. Simonetti said the Christmas tree was donated by Pikevue Nursery of Wellsburg, while decorations were donated by Tom and Mark Cipoletti, Brenda Zurbuch and Dr. Dave Edwards.