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Williamstown City Council discusses grants, upcoming improvements

WILLIAMSTOWN — Williamstown City Council met to discuss various grant possibilities in the near future ranging from improvements for the city water department to the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Tuesday’s meeting began with the laying of the 2021-2022 levy, which was passed unanimously and was based on existing rates.

Lynn Erb and Julie Posey, from the Marietta Community Foundation and Parkersburg Area Community Foundation respectively, were present to discuss the Williamstown Fund for Excellence, which was established in 2015 and has given over $65,000 in grant money towards projects in Williamstown.

The projects funded in the past have focused on community improvement and development, and have included grants for swim days at Williamstown Pool, funding for the robotics team at Williamstown High School and money for ball field improvements, according to Erb.

“It’s a permanent endowment that has community advisers for grants that are given,” Erb said.

This year, some of the grant money will go towards the establishment of the Williamstown Fire and Police Department Fitness Center. More grant money is available for applicable local businesses.

“We need to build the fund, so we need to get the word out,” councilmember Marty Seufer said.

Councilmember Jim Stage informed the rest of council that he has filled out needs to request for grant money from the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council for water system improvements and repairs.

“Over this past winter, we had run into a lot of problems with water lines,” Stage said.

Among requests include items like new insertion valves, concrete improvements and automatic reading meters, according to Stage.

Council voted unanimously to allow Stage to submit the grant application.

Victor Elam, the project leader at the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, additionally approached council with information on a potential grant from the Federal Land Access Program.

The grant, which would be approximately $51,000, would need a 25 percent cash share by council. This money would be used to increase transportation between refuge islands through methods such as kayaks and canoes, as well as improvements to the boat ramp in Williamstown and a kayak launch.

“The city is not on the hook at this point, we can drop it,” Elam said. “We just kind of need to know if this is something we should push forward with.”

Mayor Paul Jordan expressed his enthusiasm for the possibility, and additionally stated that the boat ramp receives lots of use. Council will continue to discuss this further.

In other business, council approved passage of a rental fee increase for city picnic shelters, ranging from $25 to $50 depending on hours of use.

Jordan will be attending the Wood County Board of Education Meeting on April 27 to discuss the future of the old Williamstown Elementary School property.

Council approved passage of the Planning Commission’s approval to allow Mondo Properties to split acreage and create a new road that will tie into the future townhouse complex that is being built.

The Williamstown Pool is set to open on June 5, and more information is pending protocol decisions to be made in the near future, according to councilmember Barbara Lewis.

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