Council to Break In New Chamber

Cushioned chairs, the sheen of wood paneling and the smell of new carpet will greet all those who attend Tuesday’s Wheeling City Council meeting – the first official gathering in the newly renovated council chambers.

Council members will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in their new space, located in the former sheriff’s tax office on the first floor of the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St. Prior to that, council’s Finance Committee will meet in City Manager Robert Herron’s conference room on the third floor.

The approximately $160,000 renovation project has been about 10 months in the making, since the tax office moved upstairs into council’s old chambers on the second floor in March.

The new chamber provides a much more contemporary atmosphere than its predecessor, replacing a sea-foam green and laminate motif with dark wood, earth tones and two large flatscreen monitors intended to help visitors follow along with meeting agendas and votes.

Once they settle into their new surroundings, council members will tackle a light agenda consisting of votes on four traffic rules and a resolution authorizing city officials to re-apply for a grant that helps pay for prevention resource officers in five city schools.

Funding for the Justice Assistant Grant program comes from the U.S. Department of Justice and are administered by the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services. In 2012, Wheeling received $40,000 as one of 45 statewide recipients of almost $1.5 million in total funding.

That’s down from the $100,000 the city was awarded in 2011, when 83 projects received a total of almost $2.8 million.

The Wheeling Police Department assigns five armed prevention resource officers to schools on a full-time basis, including Wheeling Park High School and Triadelphia, Bridge Street, Warwood and Wheeling middle schools.

Council also will vote on whether to replace the two-hour parking meters on the north side of 17th Street from Market to Chapline streets with five-hour meters. West Virginia Northern Community College requested the change so students don’t have to worry about getting tickets while attending class.

Other items up for consideration include requests for handicapped parking spaces in front of 220 Jefferson Ave. and 3 Richmond Ave. and removing a no-parking zone in front of a vacant building at 50 Gaewood Ave. at the request of a resident who lives across the street.