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City Council: Tennis Courts and City Park

The condition of the tennis courts at the city park took up the majority of the Morgantown City Council’s attention at Thursday night’s meeting, just as it did at last month’s regular meeting.
BCHS tennis coach Kim Grubb addressed the Council, saying she understood a permanent solution to the conditions at the tennis courts is being sought, but Grubb appealed for a temporary fix to get the bottom three courts useable.  She said parents were willing to help make repairs to get “a flat enough surface” for summer and fall competitions.  Council member Terrell House said that the main problem with the courts is drainage, and Council member Russell Givens said he would like a core test to see what the condition is under the courts.  Council member Allen Meredith asked about the city’s insurance, and Mayor Linda Keown replied that if a seam is showing on the tennis court and someone trips, the city is liable.  Melissa Johnson, who works at Hocker Insurance, said that they were told by insurers that any repair would be okay as long as it is seamless; however, Johnson said that insurers may require any repair to be done by someone having liability insurance.  Council member Gary Southerland moved for the city to contact its insurer and get a local contractor instead of the parents to make temporary repairs to make the tennis court surfaces smooth.  The Council approved the motion.
Meredith reported to the Council that he was asked if more lighting could be added to the city park playground.  He also said that he’d had reports of cursing by some park patrons and inappropriate conduct toward children at the city pool.  Meredith asked if more security could be provided at the city park.  Keown said that police could be called when needed and patrols of the park could be increased.  Both Keown and Givens said that a significant number of lights have been added to the park over the last three years.  Meredith voiced his concern about child predators and suggested a sign-in sheet at the city pool, which MPD Chief Charles Swiney said would help.  Southerland suggested “no profanity” signs be posted in the park with a phone number park goers could call or text; Council members generally agreed with the suggestion.
Bruce White, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club, distributed his Director’s Report to the Council and told them about their event Fun Day at the Park on June 17.  He thanked the Council for making the Eva J. Hawes Ag Expo and Community Center available to the Boys and Girls Club for the event.  White talked about the summer educational activities at the Club, particularly reading and math to fight a summer regression in those skills.  White asked about funding for the Boys and Girls Club and was told that he could make his request at next month’s meeting once the budget was passed.  Later in the meeting, the Council passed the 2nd reading of their 2014-15 annual budget on a 6-0 roll call vote.
Chief Swiney gave his May report for the MPD.  He also talked of a conference he attended which included a survivor of the Heath High School shooting in 1997, who is now paralyzed.  She said the shooter Michael Carneal had been bullied in school and had brought a gun to school the week before the shooting.  With another school shooting occurring earlier this week in Oregon, Swiney emphasized the importance of people telling what they know to help prevent these shootings, be it unusual behavior or bullying.  Council members asked about bullying, and Swiney stressed how much damage bullying can do to students.


Story by Don Thomason, Beech Tree News


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