STEUBENVILLE — With light up night less than a week away, City Manager Jim Mavromatis told council Tuesday they won’t be able to do all the things on Nutcracker Village creator Mark Nelson’s wish list.
But Mavromatis said they have ticked off several of the biggest, including lighting up the city building and wiring the greenspace in the 100 block of North Fourth Street for electricity.
“At our greenspace, this past week power has been hooked up,” Mavromatis said during a planning committee meeting. “We’ll have six 110-volt hookups and two 220 hookups. I just signed an agreement with Mr. Nelson today for use of the greenspace … the lease agreement, what they can and can’t do, so that part’s all done.”
He said getting power to the greenspace “will help them immensely with what they want to do there,” though they still won’t be able to string more festive lights over the Fourth and Market streets between buildings, wrap lights or greenery on poles this year or help merchants light the Christmas trees to be erected in the 100 block of North Fourth Street.
“We’re maxed on the electricity we’re using for our system,” Mavromatis said. “It needs to be replaced. Part of the problem with that is getting a timetable from AEP because they’re replacing those poles in the 100 block of North and South Fourth Streets, and the 300 and 400 blocks of Market Street. Once they make their decision o do that, that is the time for us to switch all our wiring.”
He said for pedestrian safety, the 100 block of North Fourth Street will be closed Tuesday for Steubenville’s Lights Up the Night celebration. The 100 block of South Third Street — in front of the city building — also will be closed.
“Just for that night,” Mavromatis emphasized, pointing out Market Street is a major corridor for West Virginia drivers crossing to Ohio. “It’s a lot safer that way with that amount of people.”
“It’s no different than having a First Friday night, that’s the way I look at it,” he continued. “And the police and fire departments are good with it.”
Mavromatis said they won’t be able to shave the sidewalks down to eliminate high spots for walkers.
“We have two vendors who do that … but they’re not available,” he said. “The next option is to spray paint yellow where high parts are. But the bottom line is, those sidewalks belong to the owners.”
Councilman Royal Mayo suggested using larger trash cans or cones to warn walkers of the falling hazard.
Mavromatis said on Friday, a team from the city’s electrical department, with support from IBEU on North Fourth Street “will put the lights on our (buildings). The majority is our workers, we’ll have all the supplies here. Hopefully it will runs smoothly.”
Mavromatis said TS Electric deserves credit for volunteering workers’ time to be on standby, so whatever issue might develop with power they will make sure it’s there.”
Councilman Eric Timmons, meanwhile, tendered his resignation from council’s 3rd Ward seat, effective Dec. 21. Timmons, Jefferson County commissioner-elect, thanked voters for their support in the Nov. 8 balloting and said he’ll be available “for support and guidance through this transition period.”
“Being a member of city council has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Timmons said. “I have enjoyed every minute, even the frustrating times. I’m proud of what we have accomplished. I want to thank the citizens of Steubenville. I love this city, I have enjoyed meeting and working with you. I always say, ‘We take a lot of heat but when something good happens, it makes it all worth it.”
Council indicated they would like to start working on finding someone in the 3rd Ward willing and able to complete Timmons’ unexpired term-in-office. Once his resignation takes effect, council will have only 30 days to figure out who deserves the job.
“It doesn’t say you can’t do the prep work,” Law Director Costa Mastros said, skimming through the rules. “You can start the process, I don’t see anything wrong with that but the clock starts ticking on the 21st.”
— Discussed changes to the building code that would up the ceiling — from $250 to $5,000 — before permits would be required. Hahn eventually sunshined legislation authorizing the change in wording.
— With urging from Councilwoman Asantewa Anyabwile, discussed the need to discourage residents from parking trailers and recreational vehicles in their driveways after in front of residences and what to do with people living in a camper parked behind a house in the 3000 block of Belleview.
Councilwoman Kimberly Hahn pointed out that by ordinance, watercraft, trailers and rec vehicles are not to be left in driveways between Nov. 1 and April 30.
Hahn told council someone parked an RV behind an unoccupied house on Belleview Boulevard and is living in it, while Anyabwile cited a property where the homeowner has had an RV parked in his driveway for a year or more.
— Was reminded next week’s meeting will be held Nov. 21 to avoid a calendar conflict with the Lights Up the Night festivities.
— Paul scheduled a finance committee meeting for 6 p.m. Nov. 29 to hear the city finance director’s month-end (October) reports, and Timmons sunshined emergency legislation authorizing Mavromatis to sign an agreement with Franciscan University of Steubenville for a sewer improvement project.