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Kingwood business license ordinance moves forward; council discusses dilapidated buildings and murals

KINGWOOD — Kingwood Council opened its Tuesday evening meeting by thanking police chief Charlie Haney for his service. Haney took over as chief in June 2018 after his former boss, Jim Fields, called him on behalf of the City of Kingwood. Fields had been recruited by the city to help rebuild the department.

Haney was with the Preston County Sheriff’s Department for 32 years, starting as a jailer/dispatcher and retiring after serving as chief deputy. After retiring, he worked for about two years with the WVU Police.

“Thank you, Charley, for your service,” Fields said. “He (Haney) coached me in Little League. He didn’t have a child on the team — he just did it. Just like he took over this mess (police department). He didn’t have to do it. We were lucky to have him. I just wanted to say thanks.”

In other business, council members had the second reading of its business license ordinance. A third and final reading will be held at the next meeting.

Council is endeavoring to make obtaining a licenses easier for business owners and the employees who work with them, by charging the same fee across the board.

Also discussed was dilapidated buildings. Council noted the Sweet Annie’s building on Price Street moved 1/4 of an inch since its last meeting. The building is leaning toward a neighboring building, and city workers recently erected a barricade in front of it.

Council members said they could start the process of condemning a dilapidated building on Chestnut Street, but council has had no response to letters sent out about Sweet Annie’s. City Clerk Michelle Whetsell said she researched the building and now has a list of names of owners.

“I want to get our attorney to help me,” Whetsell said, “I have a list of names that we need to mail out to. We want to make sure everything is covered.”

Whetsell said the owner of the Herring Building recently received money from a grant that will allow her to write up an initial plan for visibility and floor plans. She said the owner is looking at getting the sidewalk beside the building opened.                   

Whetsell also gave an update about Maplewood Cemetery. She said the mapping of the cemetery is complete and training on the new cemetery software will begin in two-to-three weeks.

In March, council voted to purchase cemetery software from CemSites Cemetery Management Software. It will allow the city to manage its records and ledgers, map the cemetery, and let employees know who is buried, who owns each plot, and map plots that are available for purchase.

Maplewood Cemetery covers 21-1/2 acres, with 16 acres developed.

A project by the Blueprint Community Committee could make Kingwood a lot more colorful. Whetsell said the committee is looking to have some murals placed on buildings around town, possibly created by artists such as Eddie “Spaghetti” Maier and local youth. 

One of the spots Whetsell mentioned as a site for murals is the wall around the elementary school.

According to his website, “Maier uses his creative talents to share Mother Nature’s bountiful gifts of beauty.”

“He’s (Spaghetti) my favorite artist,” Councilman Josh Fields said. “I’d go along with anything he’d be doing.”

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