New veterans monument may cost up to $50K

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON MAYOR-ELECT John Davies listens during Wednesday’s Martins Ferry City Council meeting. He won his bid for the mayor’s seat during Tuesday’s election, defeating incumbent Robert Krajnyak.

MARTINS FERRY — Riverview Cemetery may get a new veterans memorial monument, but between $35,000 to $50,000 will have to be raised first, one of the project’s organizers said.

During a regular Martins Ferry City Council meeting Wednesday, council heard from resident Terry Wildman, who for the last few weeks, along with Councilmen Tom Burns, Bruce Shrodes and Robert Hunker, has been working to improve the existing veterans memorial located in the cemetery.

Wildman said, however, the existing monument is beyond repair. Wildman, a Vietnam war veteran, proposed tearing it down and erecting a new one. It will still have an eternal flame and lights.

“The old structure is too weak,” Burns said.

Council verbally gave Wildman permission to pursue fundraising for the effort, but Law Director Paul Stecker said he would have a memorandum of understanding drawn up, too.

Wildman said before he begins trying to raise money for the endeavor, he wanted to make sure council was in favor of it.

“We need some heavy hitters,” Wildman said, referring to the need for larger donations.

Wildman said after going through the rest of the cemetery, he realized just how many veterans are buried there, from all wars.

“There are veterans from the Civil War buried there,” he said.

Burns said he still has some separate work to finish up on the cemetery’s storage building. He said he’s used some of his own money to help improve that building, in addition to some city money for paint and wood.

Burns also said he would like the city to approve the possible installation of banners that would pay tribute to veterans. Such banners would have the person’s picture and service information, along with a possible sponsor’s name. Burns said he plans to hang one near his home on Veterans Day, Monday, that features his father. He said members of council could come see it in person.

In other matters, Service Director Scott Porter said Ohio Department of Transportation officials notified him recently that it will only require the city to cover 8 percent of the Ohio 647 slip repair. Previously ODOT was going to make the city pay 20 percent.

Porter had been trying to get that number reduced to zero, citing the financial burden on the city’s coffers and the fact that East Ohio Regional Hospital recently closed.

“We will still have to pay $32,000 on that,” Porter said, noting the slip project is not expected to begin until next year.

The city will also have to pay 8 percent of the cost of running the temporary traffic signals, too.

In other matters, Stecker said the city still is in negotiations with the Wheeling YWCA regarding the Y taking over programming and management of the Rec Center on Fourth Street.

Stecker said the Y’s board is reviewing the contract the city submitted to it and will get back to the city with any possible changes. The agreement must be approved by both the Y board and City Council.

Porter added that he recently submitted a Governor’s Grant application to Gov. Mike DeWine’s office for money to make repairs to the city pool’s filter house. If awarded, the city would receive the money by mid-2020.

Council also heard the first reading of a proposed ordinance to increase the salaries of council, the council clerk, the council president, mayor, auditor, treasurer and law director positions by $600 annually for five years starting in 2021.