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Bellaire Council support efforts to improve park

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON BELLAIRE AUDITOR Tom Sable talks about village finances during a regular council meeting Thursday.

BELLAIRE — Village Council is moving ahead with plans to help a volunteer firefighter in his quest to improve the electric service at the village park.

Council on Thursday approved allowing Village Solicitor Michael Shaheen to write a letter of support for Raymond Penyak, who plans to apply for three different grants expected to generate enough money to cover the cost of the project.

Penyak, who was not in attendance but instead wrote a letter to council, said the letter was needed for at least two of the grants. Penyak said he recently had an electrician check out the service at the park and upgrades are sorely needed. The project is expected to cost between $82,000 and $95,000.

The Bellaire Volunteer Fire Department annually holds a festival at the park. But Penyak is hopeful more events will be held there with upgrades to the electric service and lighting. The park also is home to several monuments that need lighting as well.

Councilman Donnie Maupin attended the VFD’s Ghosts & Goblins Festival last weekend and checked out the electric service situation.

“It’s a mess. … It needs work,” Maupin said.

Maupin said he did some checking on the responsibilities of the Bellaire Park Board, and that group does not oversee the village park — the village does. The park board oversees ballfields.

Fire Chief Josh McMahon said the festival earned some money again this year, which means the department will host it again next year. He said a 5K race raised $1,600 for the Coats for Kids program.

In other matters, council may decide to install two-hour parking meters on Belmont Street after receiving some complaints about patrons not having enough time to do their errands.

Dr. Ray Bannon wrote a letter to council asking that parking meters be removed from in front of his office because they are only 30-minute meters. His patients are having to feed the meters change during their appointments to avoid getting tickets, he said.

Police Chief Dick Flanagan said he purchased and installed 30 minute meters to replace broken ones because that was the type council agreed on. The issue is expected to be discussed during a future committee meeting.

Meanwhile, Rick Zonker of Bellaire Junior Sports asked council to create a lease agreement for the 26th Street ballfields for the group. Such an agreement is needed to allow the organization to be eligible for a program that would provide improvements to the fields. Mayor Vince DiFabrizio said he would check and see if an existing 99-year lease was on file with the city. If not, a new one could be created by Shaheen. Zonker also asked the city to fix a broken sewage line connected to the fields’ bathroom. DiFabrizio said he would take care of it before year’s end.

Also, council approved allowing a resolution to be created that calls for reducing part-time workers’ hours to a maximum of 34 hours per week effective Jan. 1. Part-time workers now are allowed up 39 hours a week. The change is necessary to comply with state law, they said.

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