WJ makes progress on skateboard park idea


(Posted Nov. 5, 2015)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

The village of West Jefferson is one step closer to installing a skateboard park.

At the Nov. 2 council meeting, Parks and Recreation Director John Mitchell and Mayor Darlene Steele announced that the village is receiving $58,655 in state funds to help pay for the amenity. The village must supply $12,885 in matching funds.

In January, teenager Andrew Weber expressed to council his concern about West Jefferson’s lack of activities for teenagers. He had posted his idea about a skateboard park online and received favorable feedback from other teens, parents, and even former residents.

“It’s a shame that our town doesn’t have a skate park for the children to use,” Weber said when he spoke to council. “Skateboarding is a popular activity that gets kids outside and active.”

He acknowledged that the community used to have a skate park, but its hidden location was a possible reason for vandalism and its subsequent demise.

After hearing Weber’s idea, Mitchell went into action, looking for funding and locations for the park. In May, he filed for funding through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The state likely will release the funds to the village in early 2016. The facility will be installed at Converse Park.


Two ordinances up for a second reading passed easily.

One amended the village’s zoning ordinance by adding a new chapter outlining non-compliance fees for code violations.

Council member Doug Eakins asked Arnie Booth, zoning and code enforcement officer, if he had received feedback about the proposed fees following the public hearing at the last council meeting.

“I’m surprised that Facebook has been quiet (on this issue),” Booth said. “I think the people are for it.”

The second ordinance created the commercial building cepartment and a fee schedule for inspections. An amended fee schedule was presented at the meeting. The schedule listed fees for inspections of electrical units and mechanical equipment (heating and air conditioning units).

The amendment was approved before council cast a unanimous vote to approve the full ordinance.

Also approved on a unanimous vote was a resolution requesting certification to enforce the state building codes within the village. Mitchell said the village was only doing what the state requests.

Tax code approved

Council also approved a new chapter to the codified ordinances, a 57-page updated municipal income tax code.

This version, known as Chapter 182, will sit alongside Chapter 181, the 18-page tax code that will also remain in effect.

The new version falls in line with state guidelines. New provisions include no refunds under $10 and no payments required under $10.

The old document will remain in effect because, as Finance Director Debbie DiLeo explained, “If someone comes in and wants to file for previous years, we have to have that year’s tax code available.”

The new version goes into effect in 2016. In an effort to get the new version online and in the codified ordinances quickly, council voted unanimous to suspend the rules and adopt the ordinance.

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