Marlinton Town Council and Pocahontas County Senior Citizens, Inc., formally entered into a 30-day trial transportation program Monday night at council’s first meeting of the new year.
The loss of Fas-Chek Supermarket from the downtown area has adversely affected residents who have no means of transportation, as all shopping options are now located along Rt. 219 near Riverside.
This winter’s warm weather held on just long enough for Mayor Sam Felton to beat the brush to find a way to provide a transportation service for those living within the corporate limits of the town.
With insurance in place and documents signed, the program was ready to begin Tuesday, with winter’s first snow on the ground, temperatures in the upper 20s and a wind chill of three below zero. Who wouldn’t want a ride on a day like that?
During this 30-day trial period, service will be provided each Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as, for now, Tuesday is the only day of the week the senior center has a van and driver available. Residents who need a ride to stores, pharmacies and or banks are asked to call 304-799-6337 by 3 p.m. Monday to schedule a pick-up time.
This trial service is free, but those who use it, and those who want to support it, may make donations to Pocahontas County Senior Citizens, Inc., noting “transportation program.”
This trial program is specifically for residents within the corporate limits of the town of Marlinton and has been established in response to the loss of the last shopping option in the downtown area.
There is also a countywide program available for seniors through the senior centers.
One by one, businesses, the hospital and schools have moved out of the downtown area, and a proposal has now been put forth which would move Marlinton Elementary School out of the town, as well.
In response to that proposal, council adopted a resolution opposing the move, a resolution that states several reasons, including the facts that the Town of Marlinton continues to suffer the negative effects of the hospital and retail stores moving out of the downtown area, the elementary school is a significant water customer, and the school sits between an award winning library and a newly constructed wellness center.
The resolution concludes with these words: “That, this Resolution intends to state to our school board that we appreciate your dilemma and your willingness to look at all alternatives that improve our children’s educational standards and teaching conditions, but, please consider that your discussion must weigh future adverse effects upon the County Seat that bears your school name.”
Looking to the future, Felton has asked the Housing Authority to begin meeting again so the knowledge and experience of its members can offer guidance to the Planning Commission in updating the town’s Comprehensive Plan. A Comprehensive Plan must be in place before the town can apply for financial assistance through grants and programs.
Members of the Housing Authority are Fred Burns, Jr., Jim Smith, John Snyder, Tommy Dunbrack and Roger Trusler. These members were appointed to five-year terms in April 2011.
The Planning Commission has two unfilled seats which will be advertised in The Pocahontas Times.
In other business
· Felton reported that clean-up of the fire damaged property on Second Avenue will begin in two weeks
· The town was granted a 30-day extension with regard to a DEP Consent Order
· Discussed, but took no action on a proposed river access ramp on First Avenue which would allow the fire department access to the river to fill pumper trucks in emergency situations