Kingwood residents urge town to fix sidewalks

KINGWOOD — A section of Main Street fenced off for four years and sidewalks in disrepair were topics at Kingwood Council this week.
Mayor Jean Guillot said the owner of the Schwab Building, at the corner of Price and Main, has been unable to find a contractor to do repairs. The sidewalk on the Main Street side of the building has been blocked with orange fencing for nearly four years.
But P.J. Crogan, who owns the Kingwood Floral building just down the street, said just as many hunks of stone and concrete fall on the unfenced Price Street side but are swept up.
“It affects my business,” he said of the blocked sidewalk. “This fence needs to come down … Put up a warning sign if you have to.”
The building houses Preston Home Medical, whose entrance is on Price Street. And it’s also not the only building in town with such problems, Crogan said, mentioning 146 S. Price St.
Guillot said the building owner will be in town Saturday.
In other discussions, council voted to pay $2,925 for removal of asbestos at 146 S. Price St. The building, which is to be demolished, was given to Kingwood by the owner.
Council also agreed to pay $1,089.76 in taxes owed on the building from before it was owned by the city and about $250 to satisfy a lien placed on the structure because of a judgment against the former owner.
A revision of the city law that controls types of fencing and where it can be placed failed to pass after some said it was too hard to understand. Councilman Mike Lipscomb, who has been working six months on the revision, said drawings clarify it.
City Clerk Mary Howell and City Supervisor Bruce Pyles said, “It’s not user friendly.” Councilman Dick Shaffer said people don’t have money for fences.
“I don’t know how much simpler it can be,” Councilman Josh Fields said, noting Lipscomb responded to all his concerns.
The vote to approve the amended law failed, with Lipscomb and Fields voting for it, and Shaffer, Joe Seese and Michelle Whetsell against it.
“People wanted it for years, and I’ve been working on it, back and forth and back and forth, and now it’s a problem,” Lipscomb said. “We’ve all talked and talked and talked, and now we have a product.”
Seese said he voted nay “for selfish reasons,” related to Dumpster enclosures. Lipscomb told him that perhaps he should have recused himself, then.
The mayor said he hopes they can agree later.
The city has been sending letters to residents whose sidewalks need repair. Bill Shockey, representing Lodge 90 AF/AM, told council the group received one of those letters.
The sidewalk is by a fire hydrant, and they asked the water board to look at the area before work is done, Shockey said.
There was also discussion on the city’s specifications for sidewalks and whether they mirror current materials and methods. No action was taken on that.
Also at the meeting:
Council canceled the second reading on the amended garbage ordinance. It wants to consider points raised by Crogan about the containers being required.
City Police Judge Rich McCrobie was reappointed to another one-year term, beginning July 1.
Council took no action against Gary Sypolt regarding a complaint that he sometimes has horses in his yard. Sypolt said the horses are not there permanently and are kept in the pasture and barn across the road. His daughter trains the horses and performs with them at Preston High ceremonies.
Council decided this does not violate the city law. Lipscomb predicted the decision will come back to haunt council.
Council tabled action on the vendors and business licenses and agreed to wait until June 26 to act on realigning city elections with county ones.

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