PHILIPPI -The city of Philippi recently received a $43,140 U.S. Department of Agriculture Grant for safety improvements to City Hall and the purchase of a generator.
At Tuesday's City Council meeting, City Manager Karen Weaver told the audience that a project to replace doors and install additional ones at Philippi City Hall could start almost immediately after the paperwork is signed.
The total project cost is $57,400, so the city will have to match the remaining funds. Council members approved the project and receipt of the USDA grant by a unanimous vote at the meeting.
The project also will encompass the installation of a new security glass in the lobby of City Hall where payments are received, Weaver said, adding said that many patrons have complained that the exterior doors to the building are difficult to get through. The front doors, along with other exterior and interior doors, will be replaced.
"We have a lot of door issues," Weaver said during a work session prior to the meeting. "It's really just to secure the building."
The existing doors are being replaced because of rust and age-related concerns, Weaver said.
An additional door in the hallway of the building near the bathroom area will be added with the help of the USDA grant funds.
Another door would be added to the hallway, giving workers convenient access to the hall and other offices, Weaver said. This door would prevent them from having to walk through the lobby and will not be designed for public use, Weaver said.
Weaver also said the project will utilize city labor, noting that part of the labor costs could be utilized as the matching funds.
Councilman Terrence Boyd asked if the replacement project would interfere with City Hall's operational times by causing the building to temporarily close.
"We'll try not to have City Hall closed," Weaver replied, suggesting that it might be possible to arrange the installation on a Saturday when the offices are typically closed.
Weaver said the grant application was originally solely for the purchase of a generator, but that the city was fortunate enough to be able to add the security project for the door replacements and additions to the application as well.
The city will have to initiate a bid process for the purchase of the generator, delaying that portion of the project. Weaver said that when the power went out during major weather events like Superstorm Sandy, the phones were not functioning at City Hall. She said the generator will allow phones to continue operating in such an event.
While that application has been approved, another funding application is just beginning. Weaver said the access road into the city's industrial park has been on a Department of Highways project "to do" list for a long amount of time. She said that the city will apply for the funding through the West Virginia Industrial Access Road Program, and she just needed the council's permission to be listed as the applicant for the funding. The council members approved this request.
"We decided to try to revive that project and see if we can make something happen," Weaver said.
Delta Cooling and Snyder Industries are two businesses located within the Industrial Park.
"It's really difficult for the trucks coming into the industrial park," Weaver said, adding that the road is very curvy and can be steep in some locations. "It's a handicap for Snyder and Delta because they have tractor trailers that try to maneuver that road."
Weaver said there was no cost associated with the application process.
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