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City Council to Consider Forming Waterfront Heritage Port Commission

WHEELING — The city may soon add a new advisory board tasked with helping Wheeling improve its waterfront and Heritage Port.

City Council is expected to vote on a resolution to form a Waterfront-Heritage Port Commission at its meeting this evening. The seven-member body would advise council and the city on using and developing the Wheeling waterfront and areas around it.

“It involves a new commission that is singularly focused on strategies to promote usage of and additional development around Heritage Port,” Mayor Glenn Elliott said.

“The commission will have no executive authority but will make recommendations to City Council as needed.”

The idea for the commission stemmed from the city’s Waterfront Enhancement Ad Hoc Committee held last year.

In October, that committee made a series of recommendations to council on how to optimize Heritage Port.

Recommendations included creating a floating dock system, constructing a pavilion near WesBanco Arena and adopting a security deposit fee for those using Heritage Port for events.

The proposed permanent commission, formed by amending the city code, would hold monthly meetings when needed and include one member of council and a WesBanco Arena executive, according to the city ordinance for its passage. It would advise city departments, the city manager and council on waterfront matters.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, council will consider a resolution to acknowledge and denounce the city’s role in the slave trade prior to 1865.

If approved, Elliott will read the resolution at the city’s first Juneteenth Celebration at the site of the former slave auction block on the north end of Market Plaza, he said.

“This effort grew out of the work of the Wheeling 250 Committee, which I had asked to look carefully not only at aspects of our city’s history worth celebrating but also at those deserving of condemnation,” Elliott said.

Council will further vote on a series of spending ordinances for routine purchases of water treatment and pollution control chemicals at the meeting. If approved, the city will pay several companies a total of about $540,000 for mass quantities of chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and ferric chloride.

In addition, Elliott commented on the status of the proposed zone change at a National Road property where a bank hopes to open a new branch. A vote on the zone change has yet to appear on council’s agenda after the Planning Commission recommended its denial in March and forward the matter to council.

In April, bank representatives met with concerned residents at a Ward 5 meeting. At that meeting, the representatives agreed to conduct an updated traffic study and to revisit their site plan to minimize the impact on the neighborhood’s traffic flow, Elliott said.

“I have indicated to those representatives that for me to be willing to consider this zone change at the council level, I would be looking for a sincere effort to address the concerns raised at the Ward 5 meeting that is supported by findings from the traffic study and reflected in site improvements,” Elliott said. “To date, I have not seen the results of this effort.”

Council meets at 5:30 p.m. in its chambers in the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St., which will be preceded by two committee meetings. The Public Works Committee will meet at 4:45 p.m. and the Finance Committee will meet at 5 p.m.

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