Government, News

Westover reviews progress on Holland Wall repairs

The next Westover Council meeting will be at 6 p.m. May 21 at the Westover City Building.

WESTOVER — Progress on starting the Holland Wall repairs is moving forward in Westover, as city council members decide how to prioritize what areas of the wall.

At this week’s Westover City Council meeting, Mayor David Johnson said he  asked the city attorney Tim Stranko to look into the history of the Holland Avenue wall and gather the information for the council.

Councilors Leonard Smith and Al Yocum were not in attendance.

“I’m waiting on documented information on when the wall, which we’ve been discussing for so long now, became Westover’s and how that happened,” Johnson said.
The mayor said he asked Thrasher Engineering to begin an assessment of the wall.

“We had Thrasher [Engineering] look at three sections of the wall,” he said. “The section as you come across the bridge on your left, the section in the turn, and the wall across from Paula’s — that has disappeared — is section three.”

“We don’t have to put that out to bid since it’s an emergency situation, but the two areas other than the wall in the turn — the two areas are not going far enough to satisfy what we really need.”

Johnson said the first section needs to go all the way up to Front Street, and the third section needs to go down further.
“They are just looking at the first one going up the hill, just going up to the little part of the wall that’s still remaining,” he said. “They aren’t doing anything with it. It needs to come all the way up to Front Street.”

Johnson said he  spoke to Thrasher and is waiting to hear back from the company.

“I was hoping to hear back from Thrasher [Moday], but I didn’t,” he said. “What I suggest is that we treat the wall in the turn as an emergency because if that does fall, it’s going to do some damage and possibly even hurt someone.”

He then suggested putting the other two sections out to bid, unless Thrasher comes back with a reasonable rate for all three sections of the wall.

Johnson said the entire length of the wall would need repairs at some point.

“Eventually, there’s going to be other sections of that wall that need to be replaced, and regretfully, we can’t use the same stone,” he said. “We can on the [emergency section] if we use the first guys I talked to, but they are going to use a different kind of stone. They will get it as close as they can, but it won’t be the same.”

Johnson said he felt the most pressing need was the second section of the wall in the turn.

Councilmember at large Edie Viola asked if the city attorney was checking in to when the wall was purchased.

Johnson confirmed he is investigating the ownership of the wall.

In other business:

Police Chief Richard Panico said since April 16, the department has answered 770 calls, with the number of citizen calls increasing to 42. He said much of this came from efforts to patrol the back streets late at night. There were 15 traffic accidents and 33 traffic citations. There was also one couch fire and three overdoses, all rescued by Narcan.

  • Panico said there is a tent city under the Westover bridge that the department is monitoring and discussing how best to handle.
  • Panico said officers met with Westwood Middle School Faculty Senate about active shooter drills for officers during the summer, and then a teacher-involved drill in the fall before school begins.
  • City Code Enforcement Officer Jason Stinespring said the city issued 29 new permits and brought in $2,200 from permit fees. He said the number of permits had increased for the summer. Stinespring also said there was serious work going on to condemn and deal with the dilapidated buildings in the city.
  • City Clerk Sandra Weis mentioned complaints about the acoustics in city hall, and that some have had trouble hearing during council meetings. She said the city will present bids for a sound system and microphone for the next meeting.
  • Council voted unanimously to accept budget revision 7, which would take $38,300 in the miscellaneous category Streets and Transportation and allocate it to various categories to ensure the bills were paid until the beginning of the next fiscal year.
  • Council voted unanimously to accept Region VI Planning and Development Council’s updates for the multijurisdictional hazard mitigation plan, so they could continue to receive disaster funds in case of an emergency.