City, veterans at odds over parking issue

I want to write in regard to the parking situation in front of the American Legion Post 29. Since 1942, the American Legion has had its Post home on the corner of 4th Street and Railroad Avenue, also called Veterans Memorial Drive.

Since 1919, the American Legion has had a presence in Elkins, including having two Posts along the same street. One governor of West Virginia was a founder of the Post, while another first served as Commander of Post 29 and also as an Alternate National Executive Committeeman. The American Legion has done much to ensure patriotism is spread throughout Elkins and Randolph County.

What the City of Elkins has done to the parking in front of the American Legion isn’t right, but it’s not the first time.

First, they claim the flag box in front of City Hall was essentially an eyesore, put it away for awhile before the American Legion took it back and put it back up for use. Now it is every week the box is filled with flags to be properly retired.

What did the City of Elkins put in the flagbox’s place? An information box. Second, the City of Elkins wanted to remove the poles that had the brackets the American Legion uses to put out American flags out during patriotic holidays. The reasoning, to “rid the streets of downtown Elkins of unnecessary clutter.”

When members of the American Legion attended the meeting regarding this, the matter was tabled for further discussion as some businesses had removed the poles from in front of their business and left bare spaces amongst the flags. The City wanted less brackets, while the veterans wanted to keep the number of flags the same.

Now it seems the City is after the veterans again. This time, it is to enforce an eight-year-old rule from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. However, where this rule is located is beyond this reader’s knowledge as the manual is over 800 pages long and accessible parking, road width, and other topics are not mentioned much in the manual.

The City of Elkins has, as of this letter, NOT given where the regulation is located in the manual.

While City officials believe that they went about this the right way, they did not. Besides the meeting in October 2019 to address parking along Railroad Avenue, does any reader recall other notices being given for public opinion on this topic?

What this reader believes is that a wrong has to be corrected. The American Legion in Elkins does so much for the community, including sponsoring Post 29 in American Legion baseball, sending multiple high school boys to Boys State, sponsoring a local Boy Scout Troop, and giving out quarterly donations to multiple charities.

In the article from the Inter Mountain, city officials are quoted as saying this decision was for safety. These officials must not drive down Davis Avenue during the day when one can very easily do to another’s car what they claim would occur in front of the American Legion. I would be more concerned with parking there than somewhere where the speed limit is 15 mph but never enforced by the police.

This decision was not made with safety in mind, but tourism. Plain and simple.

I encourage those that do not support the decision made to contact the members of the City Council.

One can voice your opinion all you want on social media, but to those in City Hall, you have to call repeatedly to get anything done.

You can find the contact information for the members of City Council at the link provided: https://cityofelkinswv.com/government/mayor-city-council/meet-city-council/1777-2/. It is public information.

Donald Lambert



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