WJ nabs grant for Main Street repaving

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The Village of West Jefferson expects to start a $1.67 million repaving project for Main Street in 2010 utilizing a state Issue II matching grant.

The grant requires the village to cover 20 percent of the cost; the state will cover the other 80 percent. West Jefferson’s share, approximately $339,000, can be paid off through a 0-percent loan over a 20-year period.

Public Service Director Harold Walker will present council with an ordinance on Oct. 8 to approve the village’s 20-percent share. Walker said acceptance of the loan agreement is needed by Oct. 14. The repaving would include all of Main Street within the village limits.

At the Sept. 17 council meeting, Councilman Ron Garver said he has no problem approving the loan agreement as long as payments on the loan come from the village’s Permissive Tax Fund.

"If we do it that way, it is not costing our residents anything from the local taxes they pay here to the village,’’ Garver said.

West Jefferson Finance Director Jack Herrel said the loan could be paid with permissive tax funds.

Lucky Alley Ceremony and Pep Rally

In other business, council voted to rename Race Street to Lucky Alley in honor of Glenn Webb, a former school bus driver for West Jefferson High School athletic teams. Webb died on Sept. 24, 2006. He always traveled down Race Street, which he called "Lucky Alley," when transporting teams to away games.

By making it an emergency ordinance, council sped up the voting process to make the name change official in time for a ceremony to be held on the anniversary of Webb’s death.

Prior to the vote, council held a brief public hearing. As Race Street has no homes, no residents spoke in favor or in dissent of the renaming.

However, Council Vice President Scott Hockenbery raised a concern over the quick turn-around. He said emergency service personnel, including fire and police, need more time to update street map names.

"Even though there are no residents on the street, if the fire department or police get a call from someone saying they have had an accident on Lucky Alley, they may not know that site until all the maps have been changed to that new name," Hockenbery said.

Even though he questioned the time frame, Hockenbery voted for the legislation. The vote was unanimous.

Mayor Tom Phillips is planning the renaming ceremony for Sept. 24. The time of the ceremony was yet to be announced.

Council President Darlene Steele said council’s Special Events Committee will hold a pep rally on Lucky Alley as the Roughriders football team leaves West Jefferson on Oct. 20 to play at Harvest Prep in Canal Winchester. Steele said the exact time of the send-off will be announced later.

Pride Picnic set for Saturday

Steele also said West Jefferson’s annual Community Pride Picnic will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 29 in Garrette Park. The event will include free hamburgers and hot dogs, live band music, a corn hole tournament for adults, free games for children, and a cake walk.

The Special Events Committee established the picnic a few years ago as a means to thank village residents for the work they do all year to bring pride to the community.

Date change for council meetings

Following information received from Hockenbery that he will be on military duty at the beginning of October, council voted to change its regular meeting dates for the month. Council will meet on the second and fourth Mondays, Oct. 8 and Oct. 22.

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