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.
It’s time to fish or cut bait.
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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.
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.
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.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
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It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
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County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
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Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?
I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
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I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.
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In a weather emergency, every second counts.
Think back to the derecho that devastated the state just two years ago. The powerful wind storm caused nearly 700,000 people in West Virginia to lose electricity, some who didn’t have power restored for weeks. A state of emergency was declared, and all but two of the state’s 55 counties sustained some damage or loss of power.
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