Mayor Blum Will Focus On Projects To Return The Title Of ‘Parlor City’
After two years at the city’s helm, New Martinsville Mayor Lucille Blum said she now feels she has a better understanding of the city’s workings and now wants to look at tackling some special projects and intends to talk with and involve city council. She said she is open to suggestions from citizens, councilmembers, and those working within city government.
“We all know that we were in a situation where we don’t have money to spend on projects, but there are projects that can be done with the help of citizens,” said Blum, particularly citing property conditions with regard to weeds and overgrown lots. “There seems to be a general lack of the kind of care that made our city the Parlor City. I don’t find it in just one neighborhood. I find it all over the city.”
The mayor said she takes about 20 complaint phone calls per day.
“I think it’s time for citizens to take some responsibility for some of those things,” she countered.
Sometimes it is not an outlay of money, but an outlay of energy that is needed, said Blum, adding that some people will undoubtedly get downright disgusted with her because she will be nagging them to make some changes.
Resident Deanna McConaughey said one major eyesore in the city is in her neighborhood-the former Thomas Drug Store building on North Street. She had brought the issue to council in September, almost a year ago, and there doesn’t seem to be any visible progress.
The door on the North Street side keeps coming open and neighbors are shutting it. “My fear is the kids will go in there,” said Police Chief Tim Cecil.
“(My husband) Dan has kicked kids out of there several times. They are going into a condemned building that is definitely harmful,” said McConaughey.
City leaders said they cannot get anyone to claim the building as theirs. Evergreen was the last owner and City Recorder Bonnie Shannon said she called the person on the record at the courthouse, but they never returned a phone call. WesBanco is the lien holder on the property, but Shannon said, “The bank just won’t talk to us at all.”
“If that building was in good shape, WesBanco would take claim of it,” said Councilman Steve Pallisco. “If someone defaulted on a loan, they are responsible for it.”
“There has to be an answer to it,” said Blum, who added, “I think it’s the biggest eyesore in New Martinsville.”
In regard to finding money to get projects completed, Pallisco sees other municipalities getting projects completed with stimulus money. “I don’t see anyone out there fighting to get us stimulus money,” he said.
When Shannon said Belomar Regional Council had been working on getting the city money, Pallisco strongly countered, “Belomar has helped us do nothing, my opinion, other than phase one of the storm sewer project.” Phase One, on Whitten Lane, was completed at a cost of $723,000.
Shannon said Belomar has applied for money for Phase Two of the storm sewer project, but Pallisco did not seem to accept that answer.
“Then get out there and fight for it,” she told him.
“You are taking this personal, you most certainly are,” sad Pallisco to her protest.
Corliss offered he needs to ask the communities he sees getting the money and see how they’re getting it.
Meanwhile, one needed project is seeing some action thanks to the street department’s savings account.
The city street crew has begun a paving project that will cost the municipality just over $26,000, said Street Commissioner Gary Willey.
Work slated to be done is as follows: Hudson Street from Fifth Street east up the hill, $1,500; Bridgeview Terrace from Fifth Street east up the hill, $2,700; Highland Avenue from Mary Street north to dead end, $5,400; Paddock Green Drive extension to dead end, $4,000; Nickloas Circle from Gravel Lane to end, $7,800; intersection of state Route 2 and Rose Street, $1,320; and Kappel Street from Urban Street east, $3,600.
In June the department applied 16 tons of hot patch to the city streets. They have also been working on tearing down the old Bingo hall at the Ohio Street Fire Station.
Willey further said the department is waiting on their new street sweeper. The one council had previously agreed to purchase had been sold, but the company will be honoring the bid with a machine one year newer and with over 1,000 less hours at the same cost. “It has about $18-20,000 in upgrades on this one that were not on the other one,” said Willey.
Also, Council unanimously approved a resolution giving Blum authority to sign the Prevention Resource Officer grant that will provide for a full-time officer in Magnolia High School starting in the fall. Sgt. Steve Kastigar will move into that position. Last week he took a PRO course at Lakeview Resort near Morgantown, as did Wetzel County Sheriff’s Deputy Donald Bordenkircher who serves at Valley High School and Joey Richardson, the PRO at Tyler Consolidated High School.
Finally, Pallisco expressed his concern at the lack of information at council meetings from city departments when a department head cannot be in attendance. At July’s meeting Electric Department Supervisor Dave White, Parks and Recreation Director Bev Gibb, and Building Inspector Joe Hanna were not in attendance for various reasons. He said vacations, scheduling conflicts, and sickness are understandable, but a representative of each department should be in attendance to give a report.
All the councilmembers agreed and Blum will talk to them and explain that desire.
July’s meeting was the first for new councilwoman Kay Goddard, who was welcomed with a round of applause. “Thank you for the warm welcome. I’ll do the best job I can,” she said.