New year, new projects

WVU Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Specialist Ray Moeller presents a $5,000 FOCUS WV Grant to the Town of Marlinton for an environmental study toward plans to establish a wetlands educational area between Fourth Avenue and the Greenbrier River Trail. Pictured l to r: Lauren Bennett, Moeller and Mayor Sam Felton. J. Graham photo

Jaynell Graham
In its first meeting of the New Year, Marlinton Town Council tended to infrastructure issues Monday night. Dunn Engineering president Wayne Hypes reported on the wrap up of the Water Improvement Project and, after interviewing representatives from several companies, council selected Dunn Engineering as its consultant for the proposed Sewer System Improvement Project.

Council approved payments of $189,672.03 for the latest invoices for the water project.

Lighting is an issue at the water plant. In the past, it was lack of lights, now the lights are too bright for some residents in the neighborhood.

Hypes said shields will be added to direct the light to the sides of the building, rather than allowing it to spill out into the adjacent area.

WVU Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Specialist Ray Moeller attended the meeting to award a $5,000 FOCUS WV Grant to the town to do an environmental study toward plans to establish a wetlands educational area between Fourth Avenue and the Greenbrier River Trail.

Lauren Bennett applied for, and received the grant on behalf of the town.

This project is part of the Town of Marlinton’s Comprehensive Plan. 

“Marlinton has a lot of good stuff happening,” Moeller said. “It’s always fun to come here.”

Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cara Rose spoke to council about the new Mountain Culture Hospitality project. 

Rose said visitors come to the area because of the scenery and activities, but they return because of the people.

The CVB has Mountain Culture signs and message boards available for all businesses in the county, at no charge, to keep everyone mindful of how hospitality supports tourism.

Mayor Sam Felton asked Rose to speak to the importance of Hotel/Motel Tax in supporting organizations and activities in the county.

“We had our best year ever,” Rose said. “The first year, Hotel/Motel tax generated $80,000. We are now seeing $2 million, and seventy percent of that is in the wintertime.

“When the snow flies. It’s good.”

Councilmember Gail Hyer reported on her committee’s work on the town’s website. 

“In 2011, there was talk about having a website,” she said. “In 2015, there was talk about having a website. The reason you haven’t had one is because it is a lot of work to start from scratch.”

Old Clark Inn owner Nelson Hernandez said there was talk about a website as early as 2005, and he commended the committee on its progress.

The website, which will have links and information about all aspects of the town and town government, will be live by this coming summer. It will also have a link for citizen’s complaints.

In his Mayor’s Report for December, Felton advised that the MTA continues service to Bartow and the Marlinton Loop is in service on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The MTA recently began its Snowshoe Run.

Progress at Discovery Junction is going at a slower pace than expected, but the plan is for the park to be ready by Memorial Day 2020.

Felton said he is still in contact with the West Virginia Department of Highways District Office in Elkins with regard to the town’s requests for paving, signage and storm drain improvements.

He also noted that the Christmas Parade was a tremendous success and commended all the organizers and participants that made it happen.

Marlinton Town Council meets the first Monday of each month, holidays excluded, in Council Chambers on the second floor of the municipal building.

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