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Martinsburg City Council to discuss town square pedestal

April 26, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Martinsburg City Council on Monday is scheduled to review the recently passed home-rule legislation, and to discuss possible personnel changes, and requests and suggestions for the pedestal in town square.

City Council members are set to meet at 5 p.m. in J. Oakley Seibert Council Chambers at 232 N. Queen St.

At 6 p.m., the council’s property committee is scheduled to meet with the town square architect and to review ideas for the square’s pedestal, which was built as part of the redesigned square at the King and Queen street intersection, according to the meeting agenda.

Plans to commission a sculpture of Martinsburg’s founder, Revolutionary War Maj. Gen. Adam Stephen, for the pedestal were tabled in December 2011 due to cost and other concerns.

The artwork for the pedestal could not be funded because of the state and federal grant money the city received for the project, which cost about $1.8 million, officials have said. The city’s share of the project’s cost was about $360,000.

In addition to reviewing the home-rule legislation, which allows for participating home-rule cities to implement a 1 percent sales tax, city council members also are expected to discuss proposed water and sewer rates. The utility rates are expected to increase due to the city’s planned wastewater treatment plant project. The improvements are in response to a water quality mandate in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The council also is expected to discuss whether to make the city’s community development director a part-time contractual position, eliminating the full-time position that currently exists.

The possible hiring of a full-time magistrate and the elimination of one of the existing three part-time magistrate positions also is expected to be discussed.

At the time the town square sculpture project was tabled, city officials lamented the estimated $50,000 to $60,000 cost of the artwork.

No image of Stephen has ever been found, but officials had said a composite for the project could be developed by using an existing portrait of a grandson of Stephen’s.

Other installations suggested for the square’s pedestal include a town clock and relocation of the doughboy monument, which is at the old federal building on West King Street.

Requests by ArtBerkeley Inc. for the pedestal and “Pennies for the Arts” involving the town square’s fountain also are expected to be reviewed by the committee, according to the meeting agenda.

A local artist told the city council in March that an art collector in Maryland had agreed to loan a sculpture for the pedestal at no cost to the city until a permanent artwork is installed, according to the council’s  meeting minutes.

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