City officials urge COVID-19 precautions

By Jennifer Woods -

Following Fayette County Public Health’s report of zero active COVID-19 cases in the county on Tuesday, city officials still urged continued caution during Wednesday’s Washington Court House City Council meeting.

“Now, I think everybody needs to remember that’s great news, but to keep it that way, you have to continue observing social distancing,” said City Manager Joe Denen. “Maintain the distance, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. That news is very encouraging, but to keep it that way, we’re all going to have to work towards keeping it that way. Everybody’s assistance and attention to that issue would be very helpful.”

Council member Jim Blair noted these precautions in relation to the Fayette County Fair, which is planned for July 20-25. For information on the fair, please visit

“I am a little concerned though,” said Blair. “We may see an upsurge in the virus after the fair or during the fair. So, I encourage everyone to be vigilant and exercise social distancing as much as they can.”

Council member Steve Shiltz explained, “You hear people say, ‘Well, I don’t need to wear a mask.’ Well, no they don’t, but it helps everybody if you do. It’s the same way when we put seat belts in cars. ‘Well, I don’t have to wear a seat belt.’ Well, you should, because it helps with your safety and the safety of everyone in your vehicle.”

Council chairperson Jim Chrisman agreed with the need to use caution.

“We have, like Joe said, no active cases which is great. But, like he said and to reiterate what everybody else has said, don’t forget your masks and social distancing.”

Also during the meeting, Denen thanked citizens for being patient with road construction happening within the city, spoke of the hot conditions the workers are laying hot asphalt in, thanked the health department, and discussed a request from local Bob Russell, which asked for assistance in cleaning up the graves of previous Fayette County sheriffs.

According to Denen, work on the Temple Street bridge is planned to begin on July 27. The purpose of this work is to keep the bridge “in serviceable condition.”

Denen also discussed the weather.

“As you already know, it is incredibly hot. It cooled down nicely last evening, but it looks like we have another hot day today. So, if you’re outside doing work or exercising, remember to stay hydrated,” said Denen. “Eventually, I’ll be standing up here telling you it’s really cold out. So, enjoy it while you can.”

Shiltz noted that he has been to the new splash pad a few times and has seen it in use with the hot weather.

“It seems to be quite the hit. A lot of kids over there playing. It looks good,” said Shiltz. “People over there playing, enjoying themselves in this hot weather. We couldn’t have opened it up at any better time.”

A splash pad is a recreation area for water play that has little or no standing water. It is located off Eyman Park Drive.

The splash pad is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at no cost. Although a shelter house was planned to be built, the construction has been put on hold during the pandemic. There are several picnic tables available for visitors to use.

During the meeting, nine pieces of legislation were adopted.

The first time a resolution is seen and approved by council it is placed on a first reading and the second time on a second reading. Adoption of resolutions can occur once they have been placed on the second reading.

The first resolution adopted allows a lease to be extended past its current end date of Dec. 31 of this year to Dec. 31 of 2022. The lease is between the city and the American Red Cross for 225 E. Market St.

As previously reported, the space the American Red Cross leases is a small office space at the fire department.

The second resolution allows the necessary documentation for requesting funding in relation to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). As a portion of the funding will be going to the county, paperwork must be filed with both the county and state to request the city’s portion.

Three of the resolutions allows the reappoints of Dan Leaverton, Donald Moore and Tami Bath to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. Their terms now conclude on Dec. 31 of 2024.

Four of the resolutions allows the reappointment of Keith Eckles and Kirk Wilson to both the City Planning Commission and the Historic District Review Board.

No new legislation was heard.

Washington Court House City Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. They are located in the second floor council chambers of the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main Street. Currently, attendance is being limited due to the pandemic and meetings are being held at 9 a.m. Meetings will be streamed live on the YouTube channel “City of Washington Court House, Ohio” at

Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.

By Jennifer Woods