by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Lease on Harris Riverfront Park Extended

Huntington City Council has approved a lease extension with the Corps. Of Engineers for Harris Riverfront Park that continues through 2053.

Mayor Steve Williams indicated that the original lease was signed in 1978 and would have expired in 2028.

Stressing “we have big plans for riverfront development,” Williams explained that extending the agreement until 2053 will allow “proper time to amortize investments.” The Mayor indicated that “private investment on the river side of the floodwall” is anticipated. He did not release specifics.

He pointed to the dusk wedding Saturday evening Sept. 20,  of Charles Holley, director of planning and development, and Jennifer Tallent as an example of “seeing the park in its glory.”

In other council business, they approved acceptance of a $1,069,500 Highway Safety Grant which will be used for law enforcement overtime hours, promoting driver and pedestrian safety and DUI awareness.

Finance Director Derron Runyon explained the third Fiscal 2015 budget revision which shifts encumbrances (funds spent but items incomplete) in the General Fund and carries over $3,000 to Fiscal 2015 for the Coal Severance Tax Budget. Council unanimously approved both resolutions.

Re-appointment of Jamie Hensley, John Zitter, Mark Bates and Lenora Sutphin  to the Huntington Municipal Development Authority (HMDA).

Council chairman Bates recalled how he began his civic involvement as a member of HMDA. When first appointed to HMDA, the authority was in debt and had only one tenant (Bob Evans) at Kinetic Park. Bates noted the growth of Kinetic and the renovation of the former Anderson-Newcomb building. HMDA made a $400,000 donation in 2012 to Marshall toward center construction. Bates noted  these projects came to fruition from decisions by two mayoral (Kim Wolfe, Steve Williams) administrations.

During the reports section of the meeting, Mayor Williams told council that the city now has a storm drain crew .  During August,  182 catch basins were cleaned while before the dedicated crew was established only  21 storm drains cleared in July.