FAIRMONT — City Council honored the men and women of the Fairmont police and fire departments at Tuesday’s meeting.
“It was appropriate for us to honor them,” said Mayor Tom Mainella after the meeting. “At citizens, we can run away from danger, but they have to run toward it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a policeman or fireman in New York City or Fairmont, West Virginia, you still have a really hard job.”
“I really don’t think people realize how hard their jobs are,” Mainella said. “What they see every day is terrible. So, we wanted to thank them for choosing the careers they did, and for keeping us safe.”
At the meeting, two members of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution reminded council that Sept. 17 is the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. On Sept. 17, 1787, members of the Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution, which historians say is the world’s longest-surviving written government charter.
The local DAR will recognize Sept. 17, known around the country as Constitution Day, with ringing of bells at the local courthouse. People are encouraged to ring bells at 4 p.m. on Sept. 17 to mark the actual time of the signing.
In other city matters, Council member Barry Bledsoe asked fellow council members to consider a resolution for the removal of at least one traffic light in Fairmont.
“I’ve had some people say something over the past couple of weeks,” Bledsoe said. “The traffic light at Fairmont Avenue and First Street — years ago, it was a valuable light. There were several things there. But now, all of those businesses are gone, and there’s almost no traffic on First Street.”
Because of the traffic light, Bledsoe said, vehicles on Fairmont Avenue are required to stop even when there are no cars coming from First Avenue.
“We’re stopping traffic on Fairmont Avenue when there are no cars on First,” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe proposed that the traffic light be removed to keep traffic flowing more efficiently. He also suggested that a flashing light could be implemented until the actual light was removed.
“It is a good idea to remove that light,” Mainella said after the council meeting.
According to Bledsoe, City Manager Valerie Means suggested that Bledsoe bring up the issue at the council meeting, and a decision could be made as to whether or not to write a resolution to remove the traffic light. “She said to bring it up at the meeting,” Bledsoe said. “Then we can bring it up as a resolution.”
Bledsoe has received complaints about a second traffic light in Fairmont, this one at Locust Avenue and Bell Run Road.
“There are some times in the morning and afternoon rush hour — which really isn’t much — but that’s when the light may help,” Bledsoe said. “But at other times, you have to sit at the light when there’s no traffic coming the other way. So, to turn left, you have to wait and wait. Some people have said they just cut through the parking lot to avoid sitting at the light.”
But, a study may be needed before removing the second light, Bledsoe said. “We should get opinions from people who live around there,” he said. “Who likes the light and who doesn’t.”
There was one more traffic-light issue Bledsoe mentioned after the meeting.
“The lights at Adams and Jackson streets aren’t synchronized,” he said. “I called the state [highway department] and they said it’s handled by the city.” It wasn’t clear if the city would take up the problem, or if it would have to be written in a resolution along with the other traffic light problems in Fairmont.
City Council also approved the purchase of buildings in Fairmont that have either become blighted and will be torn down, or they will be remodeled as part of the economic development plan. One such building is located on Coal Run Hollow, and it was purchased by the city for $300,000 from the Disability Action Center. It had been flooded several times and was beyond repair.
The DAC is in the process of relocating to a new facility.
“The Coal Run Hollow location was prone to flooding,” Mainella said. “We won’t be putting anything there. We’ll tear it down and nothing will go in its place. It’s too prone to flooding.”