Parkersburg City Council approves land purchases

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg City Council unanimously approved a property purchase Tuesday which will improve access to the city’s Service Center.

Council voted 9-0 without discussion to approve the second reading of an ordinance authorizing purchase of two tracts of property at East Street and Camden Avenue, adjacent to the city’s Service Center.

The $10,000 purchase will be made using coal severance funds and will improve access to and the appearance of the facility.

Mayor Bob Newell is in Washington D.C. this week for a national League of Cities conference and did not attend Tuesday’s council meeting. City attorney Joe Santer filled in for Newell.

Council unanimously approved three resolutions, including two dealing with a more than $38,000 Justice Assistance Grant. The third resolution allows the city to enter into a lease agreement with area ambulance services for space at the city’s Fire Station 5.

Members divided briefly on the first reading of two ordinances dealing with the building of a Speedway station on a block situated between Division and Neale streets and Fourth and Camden avenues. The first ordinance, which would close an alley which divides the property, passed 7-2 with council members Roger Brown and Nancy Wilcox voting against. Brown had expressed concerns over traffic flow at the location.

However, a second ordinance which would rezone the parcels for business use passed 9-0. Both ordinances will be up for a second reading at council’s July 9 meeting.

A third ordinance also passed 9-0, but not before some discussion. The ordinance would rescind and replace the city’s bike ordinance which determines when bikes are allowed on city sidewalks.

Prior to the vote Santer suggested the ordinance be modified to allow for exceptions where national guidelines for bicycling could not be followed. Santer said while he could not point to specific locations Tuesday, the city’s engineer had indicated there were “several locations” that could not be brought up to national guidelines.

Council member Kim Coram, a national advocate for alternate transportation, said she believed allowing such exceptions would weaken enforcement of the ordinance and take away the possibility of improving those areas.

No amendments were made to ordinance and it unanimously passed on its first reading.