FAIRMONT – Fairmont City Council has gotten behind the possibility of developing the green space on Adams Street, though it hasn’t committed to any specific project for the site.

Council adopted a resolution “endorsing the prospect of development” of the green space, which is the former site of the West Virginia State Office Building, at 107-109 Adams St. downtown at its Nov. 26 meeting.

City Manager Valerie Means said “no decision has been made” yet as to what type of development will take place on the site.

One idea that has been proposed for the site is “Pierpont Square” park to honoring former Gov. Francis Pierpont and wife, Julia.

Mayor Brad Merrifield said that while council has not specifically endorsed the proposed Pierpont Square project for the green space, the resolution now allow supporters of the proposed project to apply for grant funding.

At a previous council meeting, Alex Haill, one of the members of the group seeking to make Pierpont Square a reality, said they needed a resolution before the group could apply for grants.

Haill said the estimated cost of the proposed project is $2.5 million. Also at the meeting, council passed a resolution approving its goals, objectives and priorities members set at a previous goal-setting meeting.

One of those goals was described as “the development of a city park or event center at the city-owned green space on Adams Street” and the development of a funding plan.

Council also set a goal to acquire additional property adjacent to the Adams Street green space.

Previously, Merrifield said council is first trying to see if the city can acquire a gravel parking lot adjoining the green space before making any decisions on developing the site.

In other business:

Council adopted an ordinance amending and supplementing Ordinance No. 1832, which provides for the City Of Fairmont’s current pay plan and list of occupational classes for all class titles and employees to accommodate changes to the rules governing overtime obligations under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. During a public hearing on the ordinance earlier in the meeting, Means said it was a “very important” ordinance to make sure the city’s pay plans are in line with federal law.

In addition, council adopted an ordinance providing for and authorizing the purchase of Lots 96-97 Ogden Ave., Fairmont, from the state Of West Virginia Deputy Commissioner Of Delinquent And Non-Entered Lands as a result of the non-payment of real estate taxes.

During the public hearing on the ordinance earlier in the meeting, Means said the ordinance helps the city buy another piece of property to assist in the reduction of blight in the city.

Council also adopted an ordinance for the designation and naming of certain streets or roadways in the Pleasant View Homes Subdivision in Fairmont. The roads are identified as Windsor Drive, Pleasant Lane, Windmill Street, and Chaplin Circle on the plat prepared by Chadan Engineering Inc. titled “Pleasant View Homes” dated Oct. 12, 2018.

In the public hearing on the ordinance, Means said the ordinance is important for what she described as the “beautiful subdivision,” noting it will give the residents the chance to have their streets named and to get addresses.

Also in other business, city council agreed to participate in a program that will allow the public to track government spending using cloud software.

At its meeting, council adopted a resolution approving the city’s participation in the “OpenGov Smart Government Cloud” sponsored by the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office.

“The OpenGov Smart Government Cloud is designed to provide the most accurate and open financial data available and will allow citizens and governments access to it in simple understandable reports,” states a brief of the resolution. There is no cost to the city to participate.

Means said she doesn’t have a date yet as to when the system will be implemented.

She said the public will be able to access it through the city’s website when implementation is complete.

Council member Karl “David” Kennedy said the program was a “tremendous milestone for this city” that will bring the city into “fiscal transparency with the state Auditor’s Office.”

He described it as “the open government concept of having the books open to the public.”

When asked for comment, Merrifield said it would be effective and efficient at no cost to the city.

According to a news release from the state auditor’s office, the OpenGov Smart Government Cloud “will allow West Virginians to use a Google-style search bar to track government spending, and also make it easier for public officials to share complex financial and performance data in simple, understandable reports.”

“OpenGov is the leader in government performance management, with easy-to-use cloud software for better budgeting, improving reporting and operational intelligence, and comprehensive open data. OpenGov solutions give governments the right tools and tolerant data for more informed decision-making and better outcomes for the public.”

More than 1,400 public agencies in 48 states are part of “the growing OpenGov network,” according to the press release.

OpenGov customers include the Ohio state treasurer, the City of Minneapolis, Maricopa County, Arizona, and Washington, D.C.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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