The recurring issue of the dilapidated building on North Street by the railroad tracks reared its head again at the Nov. 5 meeting of New Martinsville Council
Building Inspector Joe Hanna said he sent a letter of notice of demolition to the owner in Canada in June. They were given 90 days to submit a plan for rehabilitation of the structure most commonly referred to as the former home of Thomas Drugs. That time period passed; a letter with a comply order was sent and it came back "non-deliverable." The city now has a right to contract for the demolition of the building and put a lien on the property for repayment.
"I don't want to have another roller rink incident," said Hanna, referring to a building collapse in the city this summer. "This building is in really, really bad shape."
Council asked Hanna to get "hard" estimates on asbestos abasement and demolition of the building. In the meantime the city will find out specific legalities from City Attorney Carolyn Flannery.
"We have a horrible health hazard there," added Councilman Steve Pallisco.
In other matters, New Martinsville Parks and Recreation Director Bev Gibb thanked two groups at Magnolia High School for their help recently.
Members of the Young Ladies Union painted picnic tables at Bruce Park. Also at that facility the Drug Free Clubs of America planted 100 red tulips. They should create a beautiful display this spring. The tulips are a symbol of citizens' intolerance of drugs in the community and the ongoing prevention education. They will bloom sometime in April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month.
She reported that 93 kids participated in the soccer program, as well as numerous volunteer coaches. Gibb noted that such programs are only possible with volunteers.
Further thanks were offered to the street department for paving the basketball court at Bruce Park. She said many kids are happy with the surface and newly painted backboards. Unfortunately the blacktop cannot be striped until spring. The entire project cost less than $5,000.
Finally, Gibb said the parks commission is looking to make all of the parks and their facilities tobacco free. She hopes to have a ordinance ready for a first reading at December's regular council meeting, Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m. An ordinance would make the rule enforceable.
She added that West Virginia Northern Community College has donated their bus-stop like enclosure to the parks department. It would be installed behind the Lewis Wetzel Family Center as a single designated smoking area.
Also, council unanimously voted to hire Serena Huggins as a part-time cleaning person for the municipal building. Hanna praised former cleaning person Becky Hornbeck. "She did a fantastic job for us," he noted.
Finally, Fire Chief Larry Couch made an appeal for more volunteer firefighters. Their membership is down about 25-30 percent. While that is not desirable, he said it is better than the national loss rate of 50 percent.