Williamstown looks ahead to new school

A new school and the addition of two developments were the highlights of 2017 for Williamstown.

Two biggest things is the annexation of property where Henderson Wilds and the Heron’s Nest project are located.

“We are looking forward to the new businesses resulting from that annexation and it’s going to be a lovely addition to Williamstown,” Mayor Jean Ford said. “We are really excited about it.”

Ford said the community is getting ready for the construction of a new Williamstown Elementary School which will replace a building that has been in use for 110 years.

“There were some questions as to where the new school would go,” she said. “I invited the board of education members to come here and I showed them other properties and why the former Fenton Art Glass factory was the choice for the new school. After they spoke with me and George Fenton and others regarding it they had their next meeting and agreed Fenton would be the best location.”

Ford said the old building was at the point where it could not be brought up to code and it needed to be replaced.

“We’re really, really excited about it,” she said. “We feel that was a great accomplishment to get that done. It will be right in the center of town and many of the children will be able to walk to school.

“It will be very, very nice.”

Ford said the city donated $10,000 for a playground that was not included in the bond call.

Right now, Ford said the site has a fence around it and inside the old factory asbestos is being removed.

“We’ve been told demolition will begin after the first of the year,” she said.

After several delays the state grant-funded sidewalk replacement project on Henderson Avenue, Front Street, Park Avenue, West Fifth Street and part of Eighth Street was completed.

“We’ve done really, really well with our sidewalk plan,” she said. “That’s exciting and the people just love it.”

Ford said the city has applied for a another sidewalk improvement grant.

Ford said one improvement in the city was the closing and removal of a car repair and salvage yard along West Virginia 14.

“It was the topic of conversation everywhere and it was in the city where it was not supposed to be,” she said. “We got that removed this year. It certainly looks nice where it was located.

“The owner has updated the property making it a nice addition to the city.”

Other things done in 2017 included the remodeling of the former fire department space in city hall as the new home for the Williamstown Police Department, Ford said. She added the city purchased some new cruisers for the department to replace an aging fleet.