Williamstown honors Swartz, Garber

WILLIAMSTOWN – The City of Williamstown continued its new tradition of honoring those who have given a great deal to the community during the council meeting Tuesday evening.

“Tonight, two distinguished gentlemen will be honored,” Mayor Jean Ford told the crowd.

The two community members were named The Pride of Williamstown: Harold W. Swartz and Edwin Garber.

Garber was honored for his more than 20 years of service to the residents of Williamstown on city council. His last term ended in 2001.

“He is the only council candidate to have won an election as a write-in candidate,” Ford told the large crowd that gathered in the council chambers in the city building on W. Fifth Street.

With his history in the city and knowledge, Ford said officials and other community members often reach out to Garber.

“Eddie is our history and we still go to him with things from the past,” she said.

Garber’s response, following a standing ovation and having his photograph to be placed on a wall of council chambers with the other winners, was short and sweet.

“Thank you and I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

Swartz was thanked for his dedication to the community through Tomlinson Park.

“For a long time he has arranged music to be played in our park and has helped organize the Celebration in the Park every year,” said Ford. “We are very thankful for him.”

Swartz also helped organize the Diamond Dinner fundraising event that raised money for the city’s swimming pool, which was built through grants and community support and opened in 2009.

“Harold has worked beyond the call of duty to help the city,” Ford said. “Because of you, Williamstown is a much more desirable place to live and visit.”

Garber and Swartz are the sixth and seventh people to receive the Pride of Williamstown Award, which was designed to give recognition to those who have put in work beyond the call of duty to the community.

Others are Carnick Hamperian, former Williamstown Fire Chief Joe Ruf, Bernard Mullinix, Councilman Gene Duncan and longtime resident Glenn Kimble.

“You gentlemen are now in the Williamstown Hall of Fame,” said City Councilwoman Barbara Lewis.

In other business:

* City Attorney C. Blaine Myers told council American Tower has offered two new options regarding placing a data tower on city property.

“Last time we discussed this, council preferred a five-year lease term,” said Myers. “In talking to their representatives, from their legal standpoint, we have two options.”

Those options are a perpetual easement or the city can do a one-time front end payment on a 49-year lease with an option for the company to purchase the property at the end.

“My recommendation would be to utilize that approach because at the end of the 49 years either the company will purchase it or it will revert back to the city,” the attorney said.

The original lease offers the city $175,000, while the new offer adds another $27,000 on top of the original term.

Council’s general consensus is to take the five-year payout of $45,000 a year, contingent on obtaining the lease agreement and agreeing to it as well as some obligation on the part of the company to dismantle the tower in the event of abandonment.

* Street sweeping will begin May 12 and take approximately two weeks. Ford said she will remind residents again because people need to move their cars off the streets if possible for more thorough street cleaning.

  • The city’s fire hydrants will be flushed April 28 through May 9.