City Council Meeting on 5-16-13

By Connect Clarksburg Staff | May 22, 2013
Council was short but fun tonight.  Council declared Sat May 18, 2013, to be “Kids To Park Day”, basically to encourage our youth to enjoy the parks and get more physically active.  There were no representatives of the organization present so Patsy Trecost (the Mayor) told two kids to come up on behalf of the organization.  The kids came up and Gary Bowden read the proclamation.  The kids stood there politely.  They seemed pleased to have the attention.  It was fun to watch.  
The city got three sealed bids for the North Ohio Ave. project.   The lowest was from JF Allen who bid $829,000 rounded down.   Their proposal would complete the entire roadway from Glen Elk 2 to North View.   Council voted to accept the bid and get the extra $150,000 from the general budget or the rainy day fund. 
Originally the city had planned to refresh N. Ohio Ave. from Glen Elk 2 to the fire station, or maybe a little past the station.  This would have left a section of the road un-refreshed, but completed most of the road.  The contract they approved on Thursday however, will allow the city to refresh the entire road from Glen Elk 2 all the way to North View.
I like this decision.  If you are going to do something go all the way.  No shortcuts, just one of my values in life. 
Recently I said that the city had gotten $500,000 in unmatched grants for the road but that is incorrect.   The amount in unmatched grants is $400,000.   The city is getting another $150,000 in matching grants, which brings the total in grants and contribution to $700,000.   The city is setting aside another $150,000 to cover the additional $130,000 plus $20,000 for over-runs.  
The city approved $2,500 for a market survey to see how the Senior Center can be improved.   According to Gary Bowden the Senior Center has been mismanaged for several years now.  No embezzlement or anything like that, just poor use of money.   Things like driving seniors to the mall one at a time instead of taking several people at a time, just little things adding up.   But management has been changed and the financial picture is now stable, at least according to Gary. 
The reason for the survey is to see how the center can do a better job of serving a new group of seniors, i.e. the baby boomers.   Membership has declined by at least 50% and council would like to see what can be done to change the situation and make the center more relevant.  
For some reason I am fond of the Senior Center.   So I love the idea of making improvements.  As an outsider to the center who finds himself there a few times a month it has always seemed to me that whoever built and designed the building and set up the center didn’t do a great job.    It’s not a bad place, just not great.   Parking is less than optimum.  The location seems inconvenient.  The building is unattractive.   Finally the entrance was poorly designed for people with disabilities and those wanting to drop off and pick people up.  Just a lot of little details that could have been better. 
So, I hope that as Bowden and others go forward with this they will hit the details with excellence. 
Since I’m always thinking about this I’ll bring it up again.   One of the big problems with the city is that they do a very poor job of engaging the involvement of citizens.  Because of that when they do big projects like the senior center they miss out on the insight, skills, and aid of the broader community.   So they end up doing a good to decent job but never a great job.  
I cannot help but think that had regular citizens been involved, or even done the bulk of the planning, that someone would have thought to make the parking better and to include a nice drop off and pick up drive.    
May 21st is the opening of the Aquatic Center. 
The city will be meeting with the state soon to discuss continued improvements to Chestnut Street. 
June 21st is the Jazz Stroll.   This is a new event.  One will be able to stroll from venue to venue and listen to Jazz.  The stroll will go along the following path; P.J. Kelly’s, the 5th floor, Starving Artist, and last the Waldomore.  
Early voting starts Wed, the 22 at City Hall.   9-5. 
Council Comments: 
Margaret – Congrats to the city manager on his raise and a job well done.
Cathy – All of the street signs that were misspelled have been corrected save one. Hopes we can replace the lights going into Stealey and Glen Elk.   Wants to start planning the New Years celebration at Jackson Square.   Thinks the Jazz Stroll will be a nice event. 
Mary – Nice to see everyone.   Stonewall Jackson event was nice.   Nice news about the DMV moving to Clarksburg.   Looks forward to the open house for Aqua Park.
Bowden – Echoes sentiment of Mary on the Stonewall Jackson event.   There are two other events that are of value.  One is on June 8th and concerns films.   The other is June 22, and is a vintage old-time baseball game in Bridgeport.   Happy about the soon to be moving DMV.  Centra will be providing their trolley for the Jazz Stroll.   Happy about the survey for the senior center.
As a side note, you may not know it but Centra has a trolley (runs on gas not electricity or a track) available for rent.  
Zeke – Happy about the DMV.  
Caplan – Glad for what is happening with the N. Ohio road project.  

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