Beautification Committee proposes facelift to Parsons Corner

Suzette Lowe
Special to Jackson Newspapers
City of Ripley Municipal Building

The area commonly known as Parsons Corner, located at the intersection of Routes 21 and 33 in Ripley, will hopefully be receiving a makeover.

Linda Dickirson, member of the City of Ripley Beautification Committee, presented a preliminary plan to the city council at its May 18 meeting. Additions proposed were a wrought iron fence with gate opening, benches, landscaping and brick walkways. Currently, the lot is empty with no landscaping. In the past it’s been used for Santa’s workshop and formerly was the location of an events sign. Rod Parsons donated the area to the city in 2015.

“We are excited to be working on something that will create a beautiful green space in town,” Dickirson said. “It will be pleasing to the eye and will welcome people to Ripley. We are extremely fortunate to have such a great space so close to downtown.”

Mayor Carolyn Rader says that having such a welcoming, eye-catching entry at one of the main entrances to the city would be ideal.

“I’m excited to see this change come about,” she said. “We still have work to do, and we’ll want electricity there as well. I also see a possibility of some small memorial garden areas, but we’ll have to see how the final plan evolves.”

Council will consider and vote on the proposal at a future meeting.

The American Rescue monies that the city will be receiving got some clarification. At a Regional Information Session attended by Mayor Rader and City Clerk Tom Armstead, guidance was given from the West Virginia State Auditor’s office as to how the spending must be tracked and reported. The city is scheduled to ultimately receive 1.31 million dollars.

“They gave us a tool to make it as simple as possible for audit purposes,” Rader said. “We must be transparent and accountable for the ways we use the money. We still foresee infrastructure as being the focus of the city’s spending because there are a lot major projects in the works.”

The city of Ripley received an award for its water treatment plant.

“We were honored for having an optimized water treatment plant in District 5, St. Albans District by the Bureau of Public Health,” said Jim Mitchum, chief water operator.

In other business, council members Carolyn Waybright, Rick Buckley, John McGinley, Bryan Thompson, City Recorder David Casto, with Councilman Danny Martin absent:

· Heard a presentation from Lewis Pryor of WV Telecom, detailing the phone system the company can offer to the city

· Heard from Mitchum that the unaccounted water for the last billing period was 7 percent and that 10 additional filter modules have been received for the water plant

· Learned that Kelly Paving will start concrete repair on the road leading to the bridge at Walmart

· Approved, upon Chief of Police Brad Anderson’s recommendation, that Tyler Thomas’s full-time employment status be retroactive to his one-year anniversary

· Had the second reading of Ordinance 549.02 which addresses the licensing of items designed or marketed for use with controlled substances, with the fee being $1000 annually. The ordinance will match West Virginia State Code.

The next meeting of Ripley City Council will be June 1 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.