VANCEBURG — A dispute over a concept map of proposed marina construction was discussed by Vanceburg City Council earlier this week.
Council met Monday evening to discuss property tax rates and change orders for the Brownfield Redevelopment project in the city. The first order of business, concerned a complaint by a member of the community.
Richard Waljie came before the council, presenting a concept map of a possible location for a marina to be built along the Ohio River. Waljie brought to the attention of the council how the location of the marina would include his home and the surrounding property.
“When a map is presented to the public, and it involves the Chamber of Commerce and the people on this board and the National Park Service; and it’s distributed. To me it’s incredibly damaging to the historic Salt Lick Creek to start with. The other thing I took quite personally was that it incorporated my property.”
The concept map was created through collaboration with the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce and the National Park Services. Council Member Joni Pugh, also the Chamber director, said the map is simply preliminary.
“This is nothing that is written in stone,” Pugh said to Waljie. “The National Park Service came here to look at all the different possibilities and give us a concept. “
This project was among one of the many projects the Chamber had planned for the county, and asked for assistance from the community during the ‘Breathe Life into Lewis County’ back in late August. The marina concept map was among several other concept maps that were displayed to the more than 70 people who attended.
Several attendees at the council meeting were echoing Waljie’s feeling of disdain, feeling like the Chamber and council were not keeping them informed.
Mayor Matt Ginn, who was familiar with the fledgling project, said the representative from the National Park Service who worked with the Chamber, Russ Clark told the Chamber not to release the concept map to the public until those affected by the possible project were contacted and consulted with. Ginn believes Pugh jumped the gun in showing the concept map to the public during the August meeting.
“She stepped out of bounds, big time,” Ginn said after the meeting.
Pugh said she didn’t intend for the project to bring in negativity after the apparent success of the ‘Breath Life into Lewis County’ meeting.
“I think it was there to show that this has been taking place, that we are working on it, that we are working with the National Park Service and it was an example to show this has taken place,” Pugh said.
In other business:
— Council approved tax rates for real estate in 2018. Real estate tax rates are set at 13 cents per $100, and personal and intangible property rates are set at 14 cents per $100. According to Ginn, the rate approved by council is the same as last year. The projected amount to be gained from this year’s tax rate is around $40,000.
— A change order was made to the Brownfield Project, which plans to demolish the Vanceburg Shoe Factory. The amendment is for the added expenses incurred through the project, requiring an approximate $6,800 which will be covered by the EPA.
— A change order to a contract with Wireman Construction and Excavation working with the Brownfield Project for added expenses, requiring around $1,400, that will also be covered by the EPA.