Resident, officials discuss traffic

PARKERSBURG – A south Parkersburg resident asked Parkersburg City Council on Tuesday for better traffic coverage along 16th Avenue while road work is being conducted in the area.

Sam Henry, a 16th Avenue resident, appeared before council to address what he said was a growing concern of his and his neighbors with motorists using 16th Avenue as a shortcut between Broadway Avenue and Rayon Drive to avoid road construction along Pike Street. He said people were not stopping at stop signs at the corner of Crescent Street.

According to Henry, many motorists do not stop at the designated stop signs and continue at a good rate of speed. “There is a stop sign there that no one pays attention to,” he said. “People just run the stop signs.”

Henry said he and others are concerned about the safety of children throughout the area who are outside and playing. Henry has young grandchildren and other families around him have young children who are regularly outside. Also, residents travel about the neighborhood in golf carts, he said.

“It is dangerous out there,” Henry said. “I never let the real little (grand)kids out there unless I am out there. Certain times. I don’t let them out there because there is too much traffic.”

Henry said he would like to see police have a more visible presence in that area and issue tickets to people who don’t stop.

In the past, police officers who have been stationed around there have issued multiple tickets and things improved for a while, Henry said. However, without that now, Henry said, people are disregarding the stop signs.

Henry said he does feel safe as a city resident with the work the police do everyday.

“This is an issue when the kids want to ride their bikes and the golf carts,” Henry said. “I am just afraid someone is going to get hurt one of these days.”

City Councilwoman Nancy Wilcox said she has talked about the issue with Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin and there has been more surveillance in that area over the last couple of weeks and the hope is people will realize that and slow down.

She agreed with Henry’s assessment of the situation.

“It is like a speedway down through there,” Wilcox said.

Mayor Bob Newell was absent from Tuesday’s meeting due to other commitments.

In other business, council passed an ordinance creating and establishing a multi-family dwelling construction and revitalization Business and Occupation Tax Credit Program as well as an ordinance amending and re-enacting part of the city’s Vacant Building Revitalization Business and Occupation tax program.

Both ordinances are to encourage people to renovate properties.

“If you are a contractor and you buy a multi-family housing unit and you go in there to remodel it, all of the business and occupation tax that you have to pay during the remodeling process of that, once it is done, will be reimbursed back to you up to and including the cost of all the upgrades,” said Councilman John Kelly. “It is just another way of eliminating some of this B&O tax these builders will have to pay.”

It encourages people to buy such properties and do the work needed to them, Kelly added.

“It allows them to do some upgrades to it and get it back on the market as a livable home,” he said.

The other ordinance dealing with vacant buildings does the same thing for people who buy old buildings and refurbish them.

“It is the same deal,” Kelly said.

“It is an incentive,” Councilman James Reed said of encouraging people to renovate houses and buildings around the area.

Council passed a resolution for council’s August meetings to be held Aug. 5 and 19. The original resolution called for the meetings to be Aug. 5 and Aug. 26, but Wilcox amended the resolution for the 19th with council passing it. Both meetings will be at 6:30 p.m.