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Williamstown Council discusses feral cats, future of former school building

By JENNA PIERSON

Staff Reporter

WILLIAMSTOWN — Williamstown City Council met Tuesday evening to discuss the approval of animal control personnel and matching a grant for stray cat maintenance, as well as the future of the old elementary school property.

All members were present for the meeting, which included newly appointed council member Pat Peters and City Attorney Jessica Myers.

Save a Kitty Feral Cat program representative Kandi Habeb addressed council about a grant from the Two Mauds Foundation, which was established to support animals and matches a local government allocation of funds toward the spaying, neutering and vaccination of feral cats.

“We’ve done over 300 stray cats for the Williamstown area,” Habeb said. “If the city of Williamstown will donate funds … the foundation will match up to $5,000 a year.”

The Save a Kitty program is application-based and has operated in Williamstown since 2010.

For emergencies involving injured feral cats, the Humane Society of Parkersburg can be reached on its emergency line after hours at 877-477-8817.

Mayor Paul Jordan was in support of donating funds, and also proposed the creation of a salaried position for the city to assist in the process.

“I think we can create a position not only with animal control, but also to fill a void we have never really filled,” Jordan said.

The additional role of the position, which will be filled by Norm Harris, is to act as a liaison for the parks and recreation department for areas such as the ball fields and tennis courts.

Council unanimously approved the motions to establish the position and donate $5,000 to the Save a Kitty Program.

Council also resumed discussion of the future of the old elementary school building and property, as many decisions have been put on hold due to the pandemic.

Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library Director Brian Raitz was present to discuss a potential option, as they are looking to build a new library by 2025.

“We had narrowed it down to about three properties,” Raitz said. “Our first consideration is the old elementary school.”

Raitz proposed the city split the cost of demolition with the library, and in exchange the city will be able to use part of the facility as a community center. According to Raitz, the cost of demolition is $250,000, which will likely require a levy for the cost.

Wood County Schools Assistant Superintendent Michael Fling was also present to remind council that action needs to be taken as soon as possible.

Jordan expressed that there are discussions with local officials for financial assistance in the works.

Other orders of business included:

Other orders of business included:

* The unanimous passage of the renewal of the justice grant program for Williamstown law enforcement.

* The unanimous motion to accept the Planning Commission’s approval of the splitting of the gun range owned by Mondo properties from the gun shop.

* The unanimous passage of park fund usage for the establishment of a new piece of slide equipment and a repair of another slide at Tomlinson Park.

* Discussion of a fee increase for the use of the picnic shelters, which will be addressed at the next meeting.

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