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City ready to help in cleaning up Kingwood

KINGWOOD – Council is working to make the city better with a free city-sponsored cleanup, to include removing dilapidated buildings, recycling, and e-cycling.

“Kingwood has been recognized statewide for having one of the best and cleanest recycling centers in West Virginia,” Mayor Jean Guillot said. “That’s a tribute to our city employees.  I was told one of the reasons we receive the recycling grant is due to the job they do.”

Recycling is not the only thing the city is doing to clean up within the city limits.

Guillot said in an effort to remove some of the dilapidated buildings that are becoming eyesores, the city put aside $50,000 in a dilapidated building fund last year, and another $50,000 this year.

“We used part of it to take down the cemetery house,” he said. “We’ve condemned a house on Chestnut Street, and our attorney is preparing the final papers for the owner.  We went through all of the steps and the owner has not contacted the city.”

One of the buildings the city’s attorney is working to help the town condemn and remove is the Sweet Annie’s building on Main Street.  The building is leaning toward another building.  Inside, 2x4s are helping hold up its walls, and the floor has fallen in two places.

Guillot said City Supervisor Bruce Pyles monitors the building weekly. He said Pyles is measuring the building and taking photographs to show any changes of its lean.

“Our attorney is working diligently to find the owner,” Guillot said.  “If it becomes a public safety issue, we’ll probably have to go to circuit court.”

Guillot said the city started out with five dilapidated buildings and has added two more.  Two of the original five were taken down and cleaned up by the owners, the owner of one on Jackson Street has contacted the city and made plans to remove the the building.  The fifth one is on Chestnut Street.

Guillot said a building listed as the Ceramic Building across from Brown’s Park has a garage that is falling down.

“I’d like to see the city somehow acquire that building,” he said. “We could take it down and use the space for expanded parking for Brown’s Park.”

Guillot said the next emphasis is going to be on junk vehicles within city limits.

“There is a lot of junk vehicles parked throughout our town,” he said. “Our [police] chief is going to be stepping up, looking at them and giving out citations.  We need to keep our town clean. It’s the county seat.”

He said the city is trying to add avenues to help people clean up their properties.  One way is a city-sponsored cleanup.

Rhonda Ridenour, who works at the city office, said the city-sponsored cleanup will run from April 1 though Oct. 31.  She said it will allow customers to take one free pickup-truck-load of trash up to 400 pounds to the transfer station. 

Ridenour said to qualify, customers must have a paid up-to-date garbage bill, and be a customer of the city garbage service.  The ticket for the free cleanup can be picked up at Kingwood City Hall.

She said items that will not be accepted include household garbage, appliances with Freon, and containers of liquid.

Guillot said another way the city is helping with cleanup is through its annual e-cycling program.  This year’s event will be from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Aug. 21. The city will have a truck available to load the CRTs on, and city workers will take them to the transfer station.

He said the Solid Waste Authority offers zero-interest loans for municipalities for the purpose of demolishing dilapidated buildings. He said Commissioner Don Smith has information about the program.

“Municipalities and communities are providing ways to clean up the towns in Preston County,” Guillot said. “It’s a way to instill civic pride in our communities.”