By Tina Alvey
With an eye toward a larger revitalization effort, City Council decided Monday to apply for a $200,000 “brownfields” grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the former Lewisburg Wholesale building, which is owned by the city.
Brownfields are former industrial properties that cannot be used without a major clean-up operation. Ronceverte grant coordinator Doug Hylton said the Lewisburg Wholesale structure contains asbestos tile and lead paint, and is in need of a new roof.
“This clean-up grant is to clean the building so the property is available for re-investment,” he explained.
Hylton said the property has already been assessed for hazards and is now ready for stabilization and clean-up.
Council also gave permission for Hylton to proceed with two Local Economic Development Assistance grants, both of which require a 10 percent match from the city.
The first of those grants is for $5,000 and will be used to purchase and install two new fire hydrants.
The other grant is for $3,000, which will go toward the replacement of equipment in the city’s business office.
Hylton advised Council that the city will receive a $1,000 allocation from the state Division of Forestry to replace trees removed from utility rights-of-way. The replacements chosen will be varieties that are smaller when mature, so they will not interfere with the power lines like their predecessors did, Hylton said.
Another $5,000 Forestry grant, requiring a like amount in matching funds from the city, will also go toward city trees. Those plantings will be sited along Pocahontas and Greenbrier avenues, according to Hylton.
The grant coordinator’s last announcement dealt with two grants from the Leist Foundation.
A $20,000 grant will go toward the ongoing renovation of City Hall, specifically upgrades in the council chamber. Hylton said plans for the meeting room include a new horseshoe-shaped council bench to replace the linear bench now in place. Other improvements on the drawing board involve adding sheet rock to the cinderblock walls and boosting the room’s technology.
Hylton said the changes will make the room more of a “community room,” rather than just a council chamber.
The Leist Foundation’s other grant is for $5,000, an amount that will go toward repairs on headstones at city-owned cemeteries and the purchase and placement of bronze historical markers at Riverview Cemetery and at the former site of the Marie Leist shop in downtown Ronceverte.
-- Council unanimously approved the second and final reading of an ordinance annexing a 104.814-acre parcel of land that belongs to James M. Johnson, who requested the annexation. The property is adjacent to Ronceverte Elementary School.
-- City administrator Reba Mohler announced that the city’s Christmas parade is scheduled for Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., which will mean the regular City Council meeting will be pushed back a week to Dec. 10.
-- Mohler also announced the community Christmas dinner will be staged at Trinity United Methodist Church from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 1, and the downtown merchants will celebrate a holiday open house Dec. 2. A homes tour will be held Dec. 2 as well.
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