Marietta City Council defeats plan to sell park parcel

Marietta City Council unanimously defeated the proposed sale of Knox Park Thursday.

A final plea from former councilwoman Kathy Shively was heard before the vote.

“Our parks and lands are for everyone to use, riverbank lands are particularly special,” she noted, asking council to preserve the pocket park located at 505 Front St., across from Smitty’s Pizza.

Then the ordinance proposing the sale of a small portion of the park was brought back from being tabled by Councilwoman Cindy Oxender for a final reading.

“I’m asking that all my fellow councilors, based on the great deal of feedback we’ve had, vote no so that we’ve cleared that off the table,” she asked.

All five members of council present, Oxender, Cassidi Shoaf, Kathy Downer, Mike Scales and Geoff Schenkel, voted against the sale, defeating the ordinance.

“We definitely heard the public on this and I think getting it off the table is wise,” added Shoaf.

Thursday was also the first of three public hearings concerning the budget proposal for Community Development Block Grant funding for 2019.

Both Schenkel and City Law Director Paul Bertram expressed concerns with the proposal as they look to find funding to meet needs in Harmar and in battling blight.

In Harmar requests not recommended for funding included:

* ADA-accessible ramps at Franklin and Maple streets.

* Resurfacing of the Flanders Field basketball court.

* Additional fencing at Flanders Field.

* New drainage to protect Flanders Field basketball court and playground.

* Harmar beach picnic tables.

* Public trash cans.

* Harmar-specific police bike and foot patrols.

In Norwood requests not recommended for funding included:

* Extending Miller Avenue as an entrance to Buckeye Park.

* Improvements to Kroger Wetlands.

* Oakwood Avenue drainage improvements.

* Security lighting for Norwood streets.

Schenkel asked if there are other funds available to address what was not supported by the administration in the 2019 budget.

Development Director Andy Coleman said he believes about $4,400 in small project contingency CDBG money may be available and approximately $357 in contingency funds from 2016 may also be appropriated to eligible projects.

Coleman said the first step to pursue those funds would be through a meeting in his office to go over eligibility requirements, then suggested funding would go before council’s finance committee and then appear before council for a vote.

The public still has two more public hearings, on Sept. 6 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. to voice concerns, ask questions and request from council changes to the proposed budget.

Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp also used the topic of blight concerns to remind those present of the informational presentation on land banks to occur on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at Washington State Community College.

Council will next meet Wednesday for a special council meeting at 6:15 p.m. at the Armory for the second readings of five pieces of legislation introduced Thursday.

None of the pieces of legislation could have further action Thursday due to the absence of Mike McCauley and Steve Thomas.

Council will also hold on Wednesday an Audit Committee meeting at 3 p.m. at 304 Putnam St., and then a joint Lands, Buildings and Parks committee meeting with Finance Committee at 4:15 p.m. in room 10 of the Armory, 241 Front St., and Streets Committee at 4:30 p.m. in the same room.


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