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New Town of Bath committee looks to acquire, spend funds

July 15, 2005|by TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -The Town of Bath grant committee got right to work this week, studying ways to acquire and spend grant money to improve the town.

The newly created committee is headed by Councilman Thomas Hall, with support from council members Kenny Easton and Garnet Marsh, the town recorder.

Mayor Susan Webster said $198,000 is available to spend on a federal Streetscape grant project, which can be used for tourist-related improvements such as new lighting, new sidewalks and pedestrian signage.

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The first phase of the project is the four-block area around the town square, Webster said. It will take three years to complete the project, she said.

The town is looking for a volunteer engineer to head the project. Thrasher Engineering has offered to do the job for $20,000, Webster said, but Hall said if the town has to hire an engineer, it will have to put the project up for bid before making a decision.

The Cool Community grant money was put into action this spring when trees were planted in front of businesses on Fairfax and Washington streets, Webster said.

"The trees are not all doing well," Webster said. The first set of trees were too small, and the second bunch had to be purchased from a nursery in Petersburg, W.Va.

"We're waiting for the Division of Forestry to pay us back," Webster said.

Town Clerk Margie McCumbee said the trees have a one-year warranty.

A $30,000 grant request was made last year to the Legislative Digest for improvements to Town Hall and to add a parking lot. Webster said she contacted Sen. Walt Helmick, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

A local skate park group, which is headed by Beth Raps, has more than $30,000 to construct a skate park, but no place to build. The group has received $20,000 in grant money, which will be administered by the town.

"They cannot find a piece of ground inside the town, and they are looking outside the town boundaries," Webster said.

Hall suggested the committee look into the property next to Town Hall, which is the site for the parking lot.

The area behind the old North Berkeley Elementary School on Harrison Avenue was suggested, but Webster said the Morgan County Board of Education "was not interested in allowing that property for a skate park."

The Town of Bath is the local government inside Berkeley Springs.

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