Council discusses downtown events, parking

By Michael Hart - Special to the Sentinel

POMEROY — Downtown was the focus of much of Pomeroy Village Council’s Monday evening meeting.

Brenda Roush returned to seek approval for the possible blocking of Main Street as part of Kickin’ Summer Bash, which was tabled in a previous meeting to allow time to address concerns of downtown retailers.

Last year, the Bash saw an extensive children’s area set up in the parking lot, along with food vendors, and over 20 trucker’s rigs parked on Main Street as exhibits, according to discussion.

Merchants present clarified they did not oppose events downtown, only the halting of traffic and obscuring storefronts during business hours.

Merchants Association representative Paige Cleek said, “Some were affected (negatively), some weren’t…we’re team players, we will go with what council decides.”

Roush said Main Street was shut down at 2 p.m. in the previous year, and offered to wait until 4 p.m. this year, closer to the end of business.

Council approved the event with that compromise in place, on the condition the setup time be strictly adhered to.

Councilperson Vic Young also requested she (Roush) “touch base with business owners afterwards, so we can see how it goes this year. I would like to see it benefit everyone.”

The council adopted a proclamation supporting the National Day of Prayer on May 4.

Local organizer Brenda Barnhart, who also delivered the meeting’s opening prayer, said this will be the 26th annual Meigs event. She also obtained permission to use the pavilion for Bible readings and to transform the walking path into a “prayer path,” laying out small signs that identify things or people citizens might consider in need of prayer.

Local business owner Bill Quickel made a request the council retain the parking meters on Second Street to maintain traffic flow.

The following discussion made use of mostly observational data, and was unable to determine whether some business owners were utilizing extended street parking, and whether that was significantly detrimental to the parking situation, or whether non-employee courthouse traffic was the source of any congestion.

As the council revisited the parking meter debate, a merchant present interjected “that was the whole stipulation of removing meters — that business owners, employees, would not park in street…we don’t support that if that’s happening.”

A motion to keep the meters in place everywhere but Main Street and the parking lot failed, three votes to two, with council choosing to explore informal solutions.

Quickel spoke to the council on several further topics, including poison ivy removal in a public space and the preponderance of sidewalk damage in the downtown area.

“Every time I turn around, someone is tearing up sidewalks,” he said while distributing pictures, noting infrastructure work typically opened and then sealed small holes in sidewalk squares, rather than replacing the entire section.

While probably undertaken due to cost, this left the sidewalks in Pomeroy to “look like checkerboards“ and he asked if council could order more aesthetic repairs.

Mayor Bryan Shank said they could examine the village’s power to mandate ‘seam to seam’ replacements, and Councilperson Phil Ohlinger agreed the digging was often necessary but did not need to become unsightly.

“We can’t stop them from working, they a have right of way, but we can set a standard,” he said.

By Michael Hart

Special to the Sentinel

Michael Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.

Michael Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.