After years of hoping, planning and facing a few disappointments, the city of Parsons is finally on track to begin its streetscape project on First and Second streets.
On Tuesday, the City Council accepted a $396,551 bid from Huffman Corp. for work that will beautify the downtown. This comes after higher-than-anticipated costs forced the city to scale back and bid out the project twice. Both times the city still came up short on funding - more than $95,000 in its latest effort.
Parsons City Administrator Jason Myers wouldn't let that stop his determination. He met with representatives from the West Virginia Division of Highways and eventually secured an 80-20, $100,000 matching grant. The city was able to come up with $10,000, and then Myers went knocking on the Tucker County Commission's door. There, he could get only $3,000.
He refused to give up.
"I absolutely could not lose that grant," he said earlier this month. "This project is very, very important for our city. When people come to Parsons, they judge our city based on what they see on those two blocks."
A request to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office paid off, and the city was able to obtain the remainder of the funding.
The streetscape project was a vision of Parsons' late mayor Charles W. "Bill" Rosenau. Myers, current Mayor Dorothy Judy and City Council have made commitments to seeing it through. Moreover, they wanted it so badly for the town and its residents that they would have done anything - almost - to make it a reality.
The city could have taken an early withdrawal from the Harman Fund or borrowed the money elsewhere, but that would have been irresponsible. Parsons has a good track record of operating in the black, and luckily the leaders want to keep it that way.
The city and visitors will see the results of Myers' perseverance, the materializing of Rosenau's dream and the trustworthiness of council to bring it all about without financial burden.
Some things are just worth waiting for.