WILLIAMSTOWN - City council on Tuesday unanimously approved to accept an anonymous donation to improve sidewalks within the city.
"We have a family in this town who would like to remain anonymous but have give the city money to create, repair, construct and maintain sidewalks for the enjoyment of those in the community," said Mayor Jean Ford.
The donors will give the city $5,000 a year for the next five years and encourage others within the city to make contributions to aid this project, Ford said.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Williamstown city attorney Blaine Myers, right, and city clerk Susan Knopp look at the resolution with CSX Transportation that will allow the city to begin work on a main sewer line under a piece of the railway.
"I think this is a good thing to start in this town because in five years' time with people contributing, this could really help our city and get the people out and walking," the mayor said.
Ford said this initiative with the current sidewalk plan could do a lot to repair and create sidewalks that people will use.
The larger plan already in the works will be funded through nearly $250,000 in grants and another $50,000 in match. Work will begin early next year as KCI Technologies of Morgantown is expected to meet with city officials on the engineering of the sidewalk projects in January.
It is unknown where the sidewalks will be built as meetings among city officials, members of the sidewalk committee and the engineering firm will need to be held. The city has a large number of areas in need of sidewalk rehabilitation or full construction, which is why more than one initiative is welcomed, Ford said.
"I was overwhelmed when this particular person decided to do this for our community," said Councilwoman Barbara Lewis. "If everybody thinks about it and gets on board, we don't know what can be accomplished, but I know it can be great."
In other business:
* Council unanimously approved to allow the city to hire Alan Gates as the new city public works director after Bob Kimble retires in the New Year.
"We all met with Alan in separate interviews, have discussed his qualifications and believe he is the best candidate for the job," Ford said.
Kimble announced earlier this year he intended to retire in mid-January as public works director after 23 years.
"I think it is a rare opportunity to have someone from Williamstown, who lives here and has an interest in the community, and can and will do an excellent job for us," said Councilman Mary Seufer.
* Council approved an encroachment resolution with CSX Transportation which gives the city five years to construct a sewer line on property owned by the corporation.
In October, council approved a 15 percent sewer rate increase to all customers to raise $73,172 annually. These funds will go toward maintenance and the more than $300,000 project to replace sewer lines along the west end of the city along West Virginia 14 to Poplar Avenue, including underneath CSX railroad tracks, said Councilman Ron Erb during the Sept. 4 council meeting.
* It was approved to cancel the Dec. 18 and Jan. 1, 2013, city council meetings because of the holiday season. The next meeting is expected to be Jan. 15.
"If something comes up, a special meeting will be called to carry out business," said Ford. "We never know in that length of time what will come up."