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Nitro to accept bids for landscaping near bridge

By Marta Ree Tankersley

NITRO, W.Va. -- Nitro City Council members unanimously approved Councilman Andy Shamblin's recommendation Tuesday that the city enter into negotiations with BCI -- a locally owned and operated sports jujitsu training facility for adults and children -- to occupy the second floor of the old A-1 Carpet building located on 20th Street.

The city has opted to a reserve use of the first floor for the city and will determine occupancy at a later date.

Mayor Dave Casebolt announced the city will accept bids to have the area at the base of the Dick Henderson Memorial Bridge and the corners of each block from 21st Street to 40th Street professionally landscaped.

"This is one of the things recommended in the economic plan presented to council earlier this year," he said. "It's an effort to entice business development. All those empty buildings need to be filled."

Rich Hively of the Nitro Development Authority reported that he has obtained bids on the purchase of two 15-foot-tall statues of World War I soldiers, commonly referred to as doughboys, with a sign indicating the historical significance of Nitro during World War I. These statues are to be positioned at the main entrances into the city on Center Street and on 40th Street, near the I-64 exit ramp.

"This is not just part of a wish list," Hively said. "It's going to come true."

Costs range from $5,000 to $10,000 each. Funding has not yet been secured, he said.

Nitro treasurer John Young reported that the city had already fulfilled its obligation to fund the police and fire pension plans for the fiscal year ending in June 2014.

"We are meeting the minimum requirements for funding the pensions, which is what almost every city in the country does as far as I know. We could continue to make the payments ahead of schedule, or we could use the $156,723.24 already budgeted for other expenditures," he said.

Council discussed several options and voted unanimously to re-allocate $126,543 of those funds to pay off the newly purchased 2014 Freightliner garbage truck from Matheny Motors, which should arrive by early March.

Once this is paid off, the city will only have two outstanding debts, Young said.

The council also voted to contract City Attorney Johnnie Brown of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe, LLC for another year at a monthly cost of $3,500. This is an increase of $500 per month.

"Nitro has received very good advice from Johnnie and he's saved us a ton of money," Casebolt said. "We're not just getting Johnnie. We're getting the whole firm."

Finally, the mayor announced that the annual Christmas parade will be on Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. and will culminate with the lighting of the city Christmas tree on the corner of 21st Street and Second Avenue.

"We have 54 participants in the parade this year," he said. "That includes Santa and some elves, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Mary and Joseph, Three Wise Men, Scrooge and even The Grinch."


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