Minutes of a regular meeting of the Town Council of the Town
of Marion, Virginia held in the Council Chambers of the
PRESENT: Mayor David
Helms; Dr. James Gates (arriving late), Jane Hale, Suzanne Jennings, Mel
Leaman, Eugene Hendrick, Bill Weaver and Mark Warren, Council Members; Town
Manager John E. B. Clark, Jr.; Town Engineer/Assistant Town Manger Cecil Hicks;
Town Attorney Mark Fenyk; Community & Economic Development Manager Ken
Heath; Police Chief Michael Roberts; Police Lt.
INVOCATION/PLEDGE TO THE FLAG: Mr. Hicks rendered the invocation. Mayor Helms led the Pledge to the Flag.
VISITORS: Robert Lincoln, Joe Ellis, Susie Ellis, Glenda Armbrister, E. Lynn Sayers, Betsy Sayers, Linda Lindsey, Moe Weaver, Jane H. Weaver, Alvin E. Crowder, William E. Thompson, Fairfax Patterson, John Glenn, Lydia Glenn, Marshall Collins, Martha Copenhaver, Cici Vesce, Suzy Sukle, Bill Huber, Tom Hower.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES:
Upon motion of Mr.
WILLIAM CAMPBELL CHAPTER-SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: This item was continued to the meeting of May 18, 2009.
PUBLIC NOTICE-BYRNE JUSTICE ASSISTANCE GRANT: Mayor Helms explained that these funds have
been awarded to the Police Department to purchase needed equipment. It is part of the Recovery Act recently
passed. A requirement of obtaining the
funds is to conduct a public notice meeting where the public may comment or ask
questions. No one was present to ask
questions. Chief Roberts added that this
is a grant and requires no match from the Town of
BIDDING OF SPRING PAVING:
Mr. Hicks stated that $150,000 has been budgeted for paving this fiscal
year. The Street Committee met, with
authority to bid, and selected the Priority List of Streets for Spring
Paving. Bids have been let and are to be
opened on May 15, 2009. The bids shall
include milling and paving. Milling
material will be used on Town Streets according to needs. Mr. Warren asked why
PRESENTATION ON FUTURE OF OLD SCHOOL HOUSE: Suzie Sukle had prepared a video that was
played for the Council Members. The
video noted historic homes that have been torn down or moved and others that
have been restored and serve the citizens of
Mr. Joe Ellis stated that the School is an asset to the Town
and has been deemed sound and suitable for renovation. CDBG Grant funds of up to $250,000 are
available for derelict property renovation.
Potential uses for the building have been identified. As for the parking garage, the Town had
previously committed $500,000 to help construct a 3 deck parking
structure. This construction would help
to keep jobs in the Downtown area;
The immediate concern, according to Mr. Ellis, is the school. If the County proceeds with their current plan, the schoolhouse could be demolished at any time. A plan to establish the Appalachian School of Arts and Music there is in place. He encouraged the Town to approach the County once more with the proposal to purchase the school from Smyth County for the assessed value (paid for by CDBG Grant funds, not to exceed $250,000) and recommit the Town to up to $500,000 to assist with costs to construct a parking structure.
Glenda Armbrister spoke as a business owner and Town and County taxpayer. She was in favor keeping the Constitutional offices downtown. It was suggested that the Town adopt A Resolution of Opposition to expansion of the Courthouse. The resolution shall also state that all constitutional offices be kept in town. She further stated that the School is a landmark and should be saved. Mrs. Armbrister was the spokesperson for the group assembled. Also, speaking in opposition to removal of the school were Cici Brown Vesci, Fairfax Patterson, and Tom Hower.
Ken Heath, Community and Economic Development Director, stated that to save the 1908 schoolhouse three (3) things must happen. (1) Secure a Commercial appraisal and submit it to DHCD for approval. The appraisal will be paid for by citizens who wish to save the school. There will be no cost to the Town or County. (2) Secure Town commitment to provide funding to assist with construction of a downtown parking deck. (3) Secure County commitment to accept the Town’s offer.
Mrs. Jennings stated that the community is coming together
on this issue. She added that the Town
has tried to work with
Mr. Leaman stated that the Town’s proposal has been on the table and the Town has been on board to do its part for a long time. He added that no one knows the County’s commitment to the parking garage. He asked, “What indication does the Town have that the County would change their minds?” Mr. Leaman stated that the Town was never privy to the plans for the courthouse.
Dr. Gates arrived. Discussion ensued.
Dr. Gates moved that the Town work with
Mayor Helms thanked the Council and Town staff for the work put into these projects.
LINCOLN THEATRE: Mr. Huber reminded those present that this is the 5th Anniversary of the Lincoln Theatre and a performance of “Riders in the Sky” may be seen at the Lincoln Theatre at 8:00 p.m. on May 9th.
WATER COMMITTEE ON FIRST FRUITS REQUEST: First Fruits Beverage Company, LLC. has
requested an upgrade of the water line from a 4 inch to a 6 inch line to insure
proper sprinkler flow to their facility.
First Fruits Beverage Company will be occupying the former Pepsi Plant
OBESITY EPIDEMIC IN
STREET SWEEPER: Mr. Hendrick stated that the new street sweeper was operated in his neighborhood and he was not pleased with its performance. Mr. Leaman advised that maybe the employees are still in training. Mr. Clark stated that he would discuss the matter with Mr. Perry, the Public Works Director.
EXIT 47 DEVELOPMENT: Mr. Warren requested a status report on development of Exit 47 and the Community Development Authority. Mr. Clark stated that he has not heard anything on this matter.
TOWN SECTION MEETING:
Mayor Helms reminded Council of the Town Section Meeting to be conducted
on May 22 in
RECYCLING: Mayor Helms stated that a letter of concern had been received from Rev. Jonathan Jonas that the Town is not doing more recycling. Mayor Helms stated that the Town is recycling where it can and asked that staff investigate other ways to recycle. He noted that recycling trucks will be available at the Farmer’s Market. Mr. Heath stated that he is working on a day for hazardous collection, i.e. paint cans, tires, etc., at the Farmer’s Market.
WALK AMERICAN: Mayor Helms stated that approximately $20,000 was raised for the March of Dimes during a “Walk” held on Saturday, May 2nd. He expressed his appreciation to those who helped with the event.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (FOIA) REVIEW: Mr. Fenyk stated that he will work with Mr. Clark to set a date for this review.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Mr. Heath noted the following upcoming events: Go Green Workshop on May 8, 2009 in Roanoke; The Farmer’s Market will open on May 9, 2009; Recycling with Johnson Control and Lunchtime on the Lawn begins on June 5.
BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE: Mr. Clark advised that the Finance Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, May 8, 2009 to continue budget preparation. This week will focus on Public Works, IT, and Engineering.
Upon motion, duly seconded and vote of 7 AYES and 0 NOES, the meeting was adjourned.