Ronceverte Council Considers New Splash Pad, Old Elementary School

A new splash pad in Island Park, the city’s purchase of the old elementary school, and more were considered during the Monday, January 3, meeting of the Ronceverte City Council.

First, Senator Stephen Baldwin approached the council for public comment.

“I’ve got some good news, and brought the barer of good news with me, cause he’s really excited about this,” said Baldwin. “I just got word this afternoon, after working with the Mayor and [city administrator] for a couple of months, … that we got state funding combined with local funding to get a -”

“Splash pad,” said Harrison Baldwin, Stephen’s son.

“A splash pad here in Ronceverte,” the elder Baldwin said after. “He was so excited.”

Although Baldwin noted several more conversations were ahead for the project, he hopes to bring a check for the project within the next month.

“Part is coming from Local Economic Development Assistance Funds, or LEDA for short. That’s $75,000 from LEDA and the city is picking up the tab for the rest of it, [like] designers,” Baldwin said.

“We will be checking out options, and City Council will have the final approval,” noted Mayor Deena Pack.

Baldwin compared the project to the splash pad at the Pipestem Resort. City Administrator Pam Mentz explained the feature is planned to go in near the playground, and there would be different features the city could attach, giving more ways for kids to play.

“It [would] have a lip so all the water comes back,” Mentz said. “It could be a bucket, accordion, it could be a dinosaur, it can be a little thing that you can squirt people with. If you want, we’ll get some kids together and get your ideas on what they like. There are nine of those features, they’re interchangeable.”

It would also not regularly use more of the city’s water.

“We won’t really be using water,” said Mentz. “It’ll sanitize the water and [bring] it back. It’s really exciting.

Several councilmembers and representatives spoke excitedly about the potential future feature.

“Thank you very much for reaching out, … and your interest in helping us do something really neat for the kids, and citizens in general, of the town,” Pack said to Baldwin. “I’m sure they will be very happy to hear this news.”

“A dog park is coming and a splash pad. … It’s something we’ve wanted on Island Park for a long time,” said Councilmember Kathy King.

***

An ordinance allowing the city to acquire 200 Academy Street, also known as the old elementary school, was approved for first reading on Monday.

“We have some situations where people owe some money on the municipal fees,” explained Mentz. “Mr. Gary Moten has the old elementary school on Academy. We’ve talked to him several times and he suggested … he would be willing to give us the property if we would waive what he owed. Upon speaking to Spillman, Battle, and Associates, they told us we would need a ordinance regarding that. … After that we would actually have the property.”

This could be big news for the ongoing efforts to revitalize Ronceverte.

“Does this mean we could go ahead and clean it up,” King asked.

“Yes ma’am,” Mentz said. “We need to really get in there and see what’s left. He’s got a couple of things [that it] just wasn’t really possible for him to do. … There are possibilities, depending on what looks right. [For] the little buildings, I think some of our people can probably do something with those. … We need to go in, evaluate, and see what we can or can’t do with it.”

The property will be further considered in a future meeting of City Council, when the ordinance goes into second reading and public hearing.

“I’m very pleased to work this out with him,” Mentz said. “It’s something that was really good on his part, something we were good to do, and hopefully we can use this for something good for us.”

In other business:

– With the first 2022 snowfall occurring overnight before Monday, Mentz noted that “when it is inclement weather, please really be careful where we park our vehicles, especially with some of the back streets. If the vehicles are in the road in any way, we won’t be able to plow that road to treat it. We’re afraid we’re gonna hit some of the vehicles, so we just need to remind anybody when it’s inclement weather, please try to get your vehicle off the road so we can actually treat that road.”

– Council granted 18 more days on the ongoing water project for Famco after a request. The contractor needed extra days to complete their section of the project after shipping delays that were “beyond their control.” Recorder Leah Smith noted this would not affect the cost of the project.

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