Grant money available towards Westover trail

WESTOVER — Marc Glass, a member of the Parks and Recreation committee and an environmental consultor, said the grant money given to build the Park Loop Trail in Westover City park has become available to use.

At the Westover City Council meeting Monday at the Westover City Building, council members listened to Glass describe plans for the new trail and voted on bids to begin the project.

Councilmember Leonard Smith was not in attendance.

“I’ve been on the Board of Rec and Parks since 2011, I believe. We supported applying for a recreational trail grant through the West Virginia Division of Highways. It’s federal money that’s administered through the state.

“We were awarded this money back in 2012 through the Recs and Park, or the city was awarded, to build some recreational trails throughout the park and some of the amenities. The ball fields. The upper and lower sections. Just to have a trail to basically meander around the park.”

Glass said it took five years for the money to be freed up to use.

“We just received a notice to proceed, that we could actually spend the money, $36,000 total award available; $7,200 of that is city forced accounts, so there’s $28,000 available.

“So, for the procurement requirements for grant to spend — if you are spending more than $5,000, you have to get written bids. I’m here to present the three written bids we got.”

The three bids were Appalachian Dirt for $19,800, Dirt Dojo for $19,950, and Dig ’Em Up, Llc. For $22,350.

Glass said he is an avid cyclist. He said he knew some people from Appalachian Dirt because he knew them from previous work.

“I’m a long-term cyclist, and I’ve been building trails all over the state myself just out of a passion for seeing them built. One of these companies — Appalachian Dirt — they are professional trail builders. That’s what they do for a living. They’re an excavation contractor, but they specialize in trail building.

Glass said they laid out a trail system, and with the help of Appalachian Dirt, they laid out some maps with consistent characteristics, being mindful of bridges and what all was needed. They then gave a set of bid specs to Appalachian Dirt and sent them out to two other companies.

“After getting the bids back and reviewing them on their merits, I do recommend the one from Appalachian Dirt, which happens to, makes my job easier, be the low bid,” he said. “Both on merit of the contractors themselves and their responsiveness to what we put out and the lowest price, I want to forward the recommendation to council as a member of Parks and Recreation that we proceed as fast as possible with getting this done.

“I’d like to see a trail get built this spring so we can all be using it this summer.”

Councilmember at large Edie Viola asked Glass how much he thought it would cost.

Glass said he thought it would cost what the budgeted amount would be.

“We actually have more grant funds than that, so that keeps us in a very comfortable position,” he said. “In fact, that more than exceeds the usual 10 percent contingency, so I’m pretty confident we are going to be in good shape on getting it built.”

Councilmembers voted unanimously to accept Appalachian Dirt’s bid for the project.

In other news:

Chief Richard Panico said there were 502 calls in the last two weeks, and the courts brought in $7,118 with money coming from mostly fines from possession under 15 grams and speeding tickets. He said this was partly because some people were on payment plans and had received income taxes.

Panico said one man had his charges dropped after an error on the part of the officers. He said it was a result of a miscommunication between an officer and a resident and was nothing physical, just a misread.

Panico wanted to commend Lt. John Morgan for his service on the church fire case. He said Morgan went above and beyond his duty, and he was a large factor in solving the case.

Panico said the Westover Police Department is prepping for emergency alert drills at the schools in Westover coming up in April. Afterward, the department will go back and review the process and make recommendations to the schools.

City Clerk Sandra Weis reminded everyone they must now carry their identification to vote in elections, per the Secretary of State’s office as of Jan. 1. She reminded everyone early voting for county elections was being held at the new community center in Westover. Early voting is April 23-May 7, and election day is May 8.

Mayor David Johnson said progress was being made on finishing the demolition of the Westover Park’s Greer Pavilion site. He said baseball was scheduled to start next week but was dependent on weather.

Johnson said the asphalt plants had opened that day, and he said he hoped to start patching potholes by the end of the week.

Johnson said he had some concerns about the new location of the bus garage, located in the area surrounded by Westover, but not annexed to Westover by the county. He said it would affect the county directly by impacting traffic flow and by some people who may “hang out” at the bus stop and then come into Westover and cause problems. He said he would speak with the county commission about areas of concern and let council know about public hearing dates.

Council voted to amend the budget by moving $25,000 out of streets and transportation to the police fund for the new cruiser. The vote passed with Mullins abstaining.

In new business, council voted to proclaim April 3 as National Service Recognition Day as encouraged by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and asked residents to recognize the positive impact of service in our county and to give back to their communities.

Council voted with Mullins abstaining to purchase the new police cruiser mentioned by Chief Panico at the last council meeting. No other bids had been brought forth.

In citizen comments, James Taylor, a property owner and veterinarian in Westover, asked that council reconsider the dead-end alley on Upper Lane street for annulment. He said he only wanted to put a parking pad there so the tenants of the new home he is building will have room to park. Johnson said he would speak to council about putting it back on the agenda.

The next city council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. April 16 at the Westover City Building.

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