Washington C.H. City Manager Joe Denen praised the city’s street department employees for their efforts in keeping the streets safe earlier this week despite the inclement weather.
“Sometimes, the street department can really put a tremendous amount of effort into dealing with snow, and your perception of how good of a job that they do is enormously impacted by weather conditions,” said Denen during the first regular city council meeting of the year on Wednesday. “There were rapid changes during the course of the day and some really nasty conditions. Fortunately, there was a brief period of sun that made quite a difference. I can’t say enough good about the street department. They have been doing an exceptionally good job.”
The winter storm that hit the area on Tuesday dropped approximately two-and-a-half inches of snow on Washington C.H., according to Denen.
“We used about 52 tons of salt, which really isn’t all that bad,” Denen said. “We still have 753 tons of salt on hand, which is quite a bit.”
Denen also noted that there were 23.25 hours of overtime used by street department workers due to the winter weather.
Also during Wednesday’s council meeting, Denen showed appreciation to the three Fayette County Commissioners – Jack DeWeese, Dan Dean and Tony Anderson – for attending a Washington Rotary Club meeting this week.
“I thought it was extraordinarily nice of them to take the time,” Denen said. “The commissioners noted the relationship that they have with the city, which I was very pleased with.”
During their visit to Rotary, the commissioners noted the growing strength of Fayette County Memorial Hospital. “In particular, the commissioners have devoted a tremendous amount of attention and resources to help the hospital grow in strength,” Denen said. “You might recall that we’ve done some things on a much smaller scale. We purchased that squad unit that they recently acquired and we helped them with the demolition of the old Golden Corral restaurant out in front there. For our resources, the squad purchase was no small thing. But it was a humble effort of support by comparison to the commissioners.”
Denen said the great strides taken by FCMH does nothing but strengthen this community. “The operative point that I really think it demonstrates is what I call, ‘Believing in us.’ Having the confidence to succeed,” Denen said. “Because there was a point in time when a lot of people didn’t have a lot of confidence in the hospital. At times we sink into the mire of feeding off of the negative. We gossip, we exaggerate, we assume and to what end? All the world is not a perfect place, but in our corner of that world, not a day passes where I do not see goodness and kind hearts. And the hospital has made tremendous strides forward. In that frame of mind, I am happy to express my kindest thanks to the commissioners.”
Dale Lynch, the city council chairperson, also expressed his admiration for the hospital due to a near-death experience. Fourteen years ago this past Tuesday, FCMH personnel saved Lynch’s life by restarting his heart. “I will never and have never said anything bad about our hospital,” he said. “I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for our hospital, so I have a particular love for the place, as does my family.”
Also during the city manager’s report, Denen thanked the many individuals in the community who are instrumental in bringing back the popular Scarecrow Festival following its prolonged absence. As reported in the Record-Herald on Saturday, Jan. 9, the Scarecrow Festival will return to downtown Washington C.H. the weekend of Sept. 16-18. Although the contracts still need to be finalized, members of the Main Street Fayette committee say that a “big name” will be the entertainment on the Saturday night of the festival. Rides, as well as food, craft and artisan vendors will be at the festival.
“A number of folks in the community have really invested in that process,” said Denen. “You have a really diverse and dedicated group of people. It shows a lot of spirit and pride in this community.”
Also in his report, Denen said that the Ohio Department of Transportation District 6, at their cost, would like to resurface about 800 feet of Leesburg Avenue “beyond where we rebuilt it. They will pay the entire cost of that but they do need a piece of legislation that basically acknowledges that we’re going to do this cooperatively. There will be no cost to the city whatsoever.”
As the meeting began Wednesday, Lynch welcomed Kendra Redd-Hernandez and Trent Dye, who are beginning their first terms as council members. Lynch also welcomed back council vice chair Leah Foster and council member Kim Bonnell, who are beginning the second half of their first terms.
“Then there is Mr. (Ted) Hawk, who is in the second half of his fourth term on council,” Lynch said.
Jim Chrisman, who has had a longer tenure on council than any current member, is beginning his sixth term. “It’s very difficult to get people to run for one term,” said Lynch. “The fact that you have been willing to serve this city for now the sixth time and the fact that people have continued to elect you tells me that the citizens of Washington Court House must want you being part of this council. Mr. Chrisman, congratulations on the beginning of your sixth term.”
Look for more on the Washington C.H. City Council meeting in Saturday’s edition.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica.