BSSA Contract Extended to Ten Years

by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor

Without opposition Huntington City Council has approved the Big Sandy Superstore Arena contract extension, the FEMA floodwall certification contract and updating city building codes to conform to those of the State of West Virginia.

The BSSA extension from five to ten years provides sliding scale incentives for the SMG management firm to earn larger potential profits possibly by increasing the numbers of major presentations annually. In exchange for the longer term contract , SMG will invest additional funds annually for marketing and capital improvements.

Meanwhile, on the first reading of an ordinance pertaining to the Harris Riverfront Park sinking barge Mayor Steve Williams stressed the necessity for a private construction firm having nautical experience to perform continued pumping to keep the soon to be removed Holderbys Landing vessel afloat as well as the complete dismantling of the marina.

Acknowledging that the work would be less expensively if done “in house,” Williams explained, “We would have employees at risk.” He added, "it's our expectation that in a couple of weeks, there will be nothing in the river."

As he spoke to council, docket houseboats were in the process of movement from the water to a locked facility for winter storage.

Earlier in the meeting, Williams reported a favorable reception at the most recent Municipal League meeting. Instead of jokes about the Jewel City, now "they (other cities) are coming to us to ask how to move forward." Specifically, the Mayor named the Weed and Seed, River and Rail, Land Bank and Code Compliance initiatives. He recalled , too, that the "Huntington Plan" had been mentioned at a national gathering in respect to pension planning.

Finally, on the same night that council approved JAG grant funding for the Huntington Police Department ($26,318 + $1,680) code enforcement officer, the Mayor reported that since July 2013 "over 76%" of the citations had been dismissed due to compliance by the time the citations came up in municipal court.  "Others (in those neighborhoods) are beginning to spruce up," Williams stated.

For the record, the mayor said in the previous year, the City issued only a "couple a dozen" code violation citations.

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