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Council talks dock, building safety

An entrepreneurial endeavor at the Marietta Harbor and the closure of a community building on Harmar Hill were up for committee discussion in Marietta City Council on Monday.

Harbor dock space

Matthew Livengood, representing himself as a private entity rather than as county auditor, offered a preliminary pitch to host a pontoon-rental business off of the city docks beneath the Historic Harmar Bridge.

Livengood offered for consideration a proposed use of some of the city harbor’s counter space in its concession stand and asked for storage space alongside dock space for the boats.

City Law Director Paul Bertram guided additional discussion needed to include a formal bidding process for lease space at the harbor and explained the timeframe plausible for a Memorial Day weekend opening if Livengood were the successful bidder.

“Probably the end of February would be the timeframe for the legislation to be viewed by council,” Bertram explained. “That gives five weeks for bidding, reopening. That puts you right in the frame of April, which would give the timeframe for which Mr. Livengood, should he be the successful bidder … I think it flows if I’ve done my calculations on the timing.”

Remaining related questions to consider before council’s approval would include identifying which city fund such lease income would funnel to and what such income could pay for within the city, a proposed dollar figure and length of time for such a lease and any contractual protections for the small business from liability for other city ventures or costs.

Gold Star Park

Formerly known as Lookout Park, the city green space on Harmar Hill is not only home to a disc golf course, walking trail and children’s climbing equipment but also a community building often rented out for birthday parties, reunions and neighborhood watch meetings.

Last week, Safety-Service Director Steve Wetz informed council that the building had been closed upon discovery of standing water and other structural concerns.

Monday, legislators further discussed the concerns of the building and asked for a more detailed review of all issues before deciding whether to save or demolish the structure.

Councilwoman Susan Boyer also pointed out that the building serves as an emergency location above floodplain concerns for the legislators to conduct council meetings (it served primarily as the location for business meetings until the Armory’s first floor opened on Nov. 12, 2015).

Once, during a power outage, the building served that purpose in recent years.

Council is next scheduled to meet in a joint Streets and Transportation Committee with Planning, Zoning, Annexation and Housing Committee at 4 p.m. via teleconference to discuss an eight-point agenda including an application for a dumpster next to a city sidewalk in the 100 block of Butler Street, discussions with Marietta College and the potential closure of the 300 and 400 blocks of Butler Street between Fourth and Seventh streets, and options to hire aid in zoning ordinance writing.

Public participation may be requested to the council clerk via email, or may be engaged via the city’s social media during the live broadcast.

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