Equipment is moving dirt on the hillside above Woodsdale and Bethany Pike, but the activity wasn't enough to bring out residents to a community meeting at Woodsdale Elementary School on Tuesday.
The only member of the public to attend Tuesday's meeting was Wendy Scatterday, a member of Woodsdale United. The group is an association of residents in the neighborhood seeking to keep abreast of happenings on the hillside above Woodsdale on property co-owned by Kevin Coyne and Doug Grayson under the name GC&P Development.
According to Wheeling Councilman David Miller - who represents the 4th Ward - GC&P Development has been granted a limited permit by the Department of Environmental Protection, and is allowed to district some of the foliage. He said the company's permits were in place, and they did not appear to be doing anything out of the scope of what they have presented.
Photo by Joselyn King
Wheeling Police Lt. Shaun Flanegin, left, and 4th Ward Councilman David Miller attend a community meeting Tuesday at Woodsdale Elementary School.
"GC&P Development is progressing, and as of right now they can timber and clean the hillside," Miller said. "But we can guess it's not going to be a bird sanctuary there. ... In any official capacity, we have not seen any new plans, and new maps, drawings - I've seen nothing."
Miller hosts the monthly meetings, and is most often joined by Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger and Lt. Shaun Flanegin. The group is now contemplating scheduling the meetings for every other month after PTA meetings, and presenting an organized program.
Schwertfeger expressed his frustration at the turnout.
"What can we do to get people to come to these meetings?" he asked. " I can tell you right now, our drug problem is expanding. There are locations in your ward and other wards out in your area. We're ahead of it. But if we are educated and informed about it in advance of it, we are more likely to keep it at bay."
Elm Grove, Wheeling Island and East Wheeling all host community meetings that are well-attended, Schwertfeger said. Fewer residents turn out for meetings in Woodsdale, Warwood and South Wheeling.
Miller said future meetings could instead feature programs, such as drug dog demonstrations, that might bring more people out. Schwertfeger and Flanegin suggested meetings be held every other month, rather than monthly.
Scatterday said people in Woodsdale likely aren't attending the meetings because they are "busy with their kids ... and life." Scheduling future community meetings after planned events at Woodsdale Elementary, such as PTA meetings, also could improve attendance, she said.
Miller said one reason people aren't coming to the 4th Ward gatherings is they ask their questions outside of the meeting. He answers them, and then they don't come to the scheduled meeting.