Outgoing councilmen look back

MARIETTA – As the year comes to a close, the terms of two Marietta councilmen are also coming to an end.

Council President Walt Brothers and councilman Denver Abicht, both Democrats, chose not to run for re-election in November.

At-large councilman Abicht has served for nearly three years. Since taking over as chairman for the streets committee, Abicht has done his best to keep roads in top shape, he said.

“The first thing to hit me when I took over was the constituents on Warner Street,” he said. “We redid the streets and put ADA ramps in. It was a rebuild on sidewalks to help get the drainage right. It felt good that I got that taken care of.”

Another thing Abicht helped pass was an ordinance about local merchants’ sidewalk signs.

“They can now put their signs out,” he said.

One thing Abicht won’t see completed is the Seventh, Pike and Greene streets construction project.

“I’m sorry I won’t see it finished,” he said. “It’s at the point right now where it’ll keep going.”

Abicht said he was also satisfied with progress on the River Trail. He said Phase Five is moving along. That section will go from Jefferson Street along the Ohio River, cross Duck Creek and go between the golf course and the Comfort Inn, ending in front of Wal-Mart.

Abicht said there has been about $5 million worth of road work since his term began. He is looking forward to time off, but has contemplated getting involved in some city projects.

“I’ll give it a little time before I get back into it… I just want to retire,” he said. “I enjoyed (council) but it’s time for me to give it up.”

Brothers served the council for one two-year term as president.

“We’ve done over 550 ordinances,” he said. “The big thing is the council feels very strongly that they represent the city of Marietta and are working in its best interest.”

Brothers said major projects during his time on council included work on the Armory, consideration of a revitalization district, updating property codes and a matrix to evaluate a contractor’s bids on work in the city.

“All that (work) took a lot of listening and hearing and coming up with what we thought was the best solution,” Brothers said.

A challenge for him was being an “outsider,” he said.

“I came to Marietta in 1994,” Brothers said. “The others grew up here.”

In spite of their differences, Brothers said he and the other members of council were able to work well together and build a good working relationship.

“People who have been on council for some time bring a wealth of experience,” he said. “New people on council bring new eyes to look at everyone’s problems. There’s a lot of understanding and working through problems differently.”

Brothers said he’s looking forward to what will come next.

“My life has great plans for me,” he said. “I see my life as a book with various chapters.”

Brothers said he’s looking forward to golfing, riding horses and writing.

“I actually want to write stories,” Brothers said. “I have a lot of short stories in my head.”

Brothers is excited about the way he’s leaving the council.

“It’s been a wonderful two years,” he said, adding that crossing party lines was a huge success.

“That’s what makes the government operate,” Brothers said. “The people in Washington can’t get along and can’t agree. We cross party lines here. We do what’s best for the city. The petty problems are forgotten, you can get things done and let everybody take credit for the victory.”