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City Council: Tennis Courts, Lifeguards, and Natcher Parkway...

Crack in the tennis courts at Charles T. Black Park.  The BCHS High School team played their season on this court.

The Morgantown City Council took on a full agenda at its regular monthly meeting Thursday night, spending much of its time discussing the tennis courts at the city park.

Council member Dionne Merritt brought up the tennis courts, describing their condition as a “major liability” for the city.  Merritt said the courts have perennial drainage problems and suggested constructing new courts at a different location.  School Superintendent Scott Howard told the Council that the schools could not continue to play on the courts, and the estimate he got from the nearest court construction contractors in Louisville was around $150,000 for overhaul of the six courts.  Howard also got an estimate to build two courts on school-owned land of $95,000.  Council member Terrell House countered that the city should check with local contractors to see if they could handle the job; referring to the sidewalk projects undertaken by the city, House said “We took a $500,000 job and did it for $60,000.”  Council member Gary Southerland said that the city should look at fixing the drainage issues and then fix the courts.  Howard chimed in that a solution to the drainage problem should be figured out locally with “as many farmers as we have that tile their fields.”  House suggested a joint meeting of representatives from the Council, Fiscal Court, and the Board of Education to examine their options, and the Council agreed.  Merritt reminded that the current condition of the courts is a liability risk; after a brief discussion, the Council decided to discuss in a work session whether to lock the courts to the public.
House brought up the condition of the walking track at the city park, saying he got an estimate to repave the track for $1,727.  City treasurer Anita Gossett said that there was around $14,000 left in the park budget.  Council members agreed that fixing the condition of the walking track at this time would also enhance the appearance of the city park for the upcoming Catfish Festival.  The Council approved contracting with Dennis Lassiter to repave the walking track and if necessary to take the funds from the next fiscal year.
Jacob Todd Williams from the Butler County Rescue Squad gave the Council their financial report as well as bracelets that will be used in upcoming fundraisers.  Williams thanked the Council for their support, updated the Council on several fundraisers coming up, and said they will have an event May 29 at the city park to use cut-up cars to encourage drivers to use their seat belts.
Merritt proposed uniforms for city pool personnel, particularly suggesting one-piece bathing suits for female lifeguards and trunks for male lifeguards; Merritt said the uniforms would present a professional image with no “wardrobe malfunctions” on the part of lifeguards.  She proposed issuing two swimsuits to each lifeguard; Gossett countered that one would be preferable from a cost standpoint.  The Council approved a motion to provide pool employees with “adequate attire” with total costs for swimwear capped at $1,000.
Charles Hutcheson addressed the Council and requested a resolution to change the name of the Natcher Parkway back to the Green River Parkway.  Hutcheson said he also planned to speak with the Fiscal Court.  House stated that state government names parkways but said that he wants to see if the county government wants to push for a name change resolution.  Other Council members agreed, and no action was taken.
Mayor Linda Keown said the Planning and Zoning Board is working on revising the sidewalk ordinance, adding that liability issues dictate a revision to make the ordinance workable.  She urged the Council to take another look at updating the ordinance and at which sidewalks in the city need attention.
Chris Hughson addressed the Council about the 1st reading of an ordinance to close the alley that forms an L running from Tyler Street behind the old Dalton Oil building to G. L. Smith Street.  The Council approved the 1st reading.  In other business, the Council reappointed Roger Southerland and Becky Hankins to the Tourism Board; approved the new police policy manual; and agreed to join the Planning and Zoning Board’s June 3 meeting to work on a new nuisance and vacant/blighted properties ordinance.


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