The Times West Virginian

Opinion

August 18, 2013

Fish or cut bait correct message when it comes to the riverfront

It’s time to fish or cut bait.

That’s the message that the Marion County Commission has for the City of Fairmont over a deal to trade the county’s 100 block of Adams Street for the city’s piece of Palatine Park.

The county wants to develop the riverfront using land it purchased from CSX in June. The county wants to use land that extends from the Bauer Building/Election Center to the site of the former Low Level Bridge and clear out space for walking trails, restrooms, fishing docks, boat docks and ramps, a splash park, picnic tables, parking, pavilions, a water garden and maybe even a gazebo for weddings.

It’s something that has been on the planning wish list of the city for more than a dozen years. What the city has lacked is major funding to even start such an endeavor or an anchor business that would keep the momentum of development going.

Even without an anchor business, the county can achieve great things with the plan it has released. With that $800,000 investment, there’s no doubt that weekly fishing tournaments could be held along the banks of the Mon River. And there is major money to be had from those kind of tournaments — from beds being filled in local hotels and motels to purchases being made in stores by out-of-town guests to seats being taken in local restaurants by hungry fishermen and their families.

So we’ll say it again. It’s time to fish or cut bait.

Why? The city has yet to even talk about the trade. There has been very little discussion at Fairmont City Council meetings, other than updates from Charlie Reese, the director of the Marion County Development Office. There hasn’t even been an executive session in the nearly two months since the county unveiled the plan to city council.

These types of discussions, as we all know, have to take place during official meetings. The city says it needs time to dot I’s and cross T’s. But if there has been no official discussion of the proposal, we say the nine elected members of city council seem to be dragging their feet on even discussing what the county has to offer, much less giving it serious consideration. They haven’t even asked for public comment to gauge what city residents want to see. After all, aren’t these elected members of council accountable to the people who put them there?

When council members have expressed concern over trading property, not once have they mentioned Fairmont residents. Yes, council serves as a steward of public funds and property, but we elect them to make the decisions based on what is best in the short-term and long-term for the city and its residents, not their legacy or ego.

Council has said it will discuss options at its Aug. 27 meeting behind closed doors. They are within their rights to do so, as consideration of the purchase, sale or trade of property is a matter that is exempt from open-meeting laws.

But on Aug. 27, we certainly hope that council comes out of that chamber with an answer. Yes or no, the county is going to move forward. Having a fully developed riverfront, including the city’s portion of Palatine Park, would be ideal and in the best interest of all residents of Marion County, including the nearly 20,000 who live in the City of Fairmont.

Few would say a developed riverfront is a bad thing. If that’s the case, does it matter who got the job done? Have egos gotten in the way? Are leaders more concerned with equity than what’s best for the residents of the city? This decision now rests in the votes of nine members of city council.

After two months, it’s time to make a decision. Your residents deserve one. Fish or cut bait.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads