City Manager Outlines Plans for Future of Moundsville
When new Moundsville City Manager Rick Healy spoke Tuesday at the Moundsville Lions Club his first words were, “As I look around the room I see many friends and associates from the past.”
Rightly so, as Healy has lived in the Moundville-Glen Dale area his entire life, with one exception that being “a short stint with a local home center chain in the southern Pittsburgh area.”
He told the Lions Club members that he expected to retire from Belomar, when the Moundsville city manager position became open. He said, “I decided to throw my hat in the ring, so to speak. After a long process in which the city received over 70 resumes, I was notified that I was one of the finalists. After the interview, I was contacted and negotiated a contract over the phone. After I accepted, I felt and still feel truly honored to be the city manager of Moundsville.”
He went on to explain that he was raised in Glen Dale and attended Marshall County Schools. He stated that he graduated from John Marshall High School in 1979, and that he graduated from West Liberty State College in 1983 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a specialization in management.
He told the Lions Club members that he started his professional career with a fledgling business called One Hour Photo at the Ohio Valley Mall as an assistant manager. He added, “I remember people standing at the window watching prints come down a chute in less one hour. My how far we have come!”
“I then entered the Management Training Program with 84 Lumber, working in Ohio and Pennsylvania stores, culminating my career by being selected to open a new store,” Healy said.
“Following this endeavor, I jumped at the opportunity to come ‘back home’ and to purchase K.&W. Hardware until 2005, when we sadly closed the door. Just before that, in 2003, I began a job at Belomar Regional Council, Belomar, a regional council that works with Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties in West Virginia, and Belmont County in Ohio. There, I administered and operated a housing rehab program for low- to moderate-income residents in Belmont County, and gaining my state of Ohio license in both lead-based paint risk assessment and lead abatement contractor. I also wrote and administered millions of dollars of water and sewer line projects in the West Virginia counties. I became the assistant director of management srvices in 2015,” Healy stated.
He continued his presentation with the following: “I can honestly say that I have seen, and most of you have seen, as well, the shifting to a more progressive, busy city. There are many contributing factors to the recent success that Moundsville has seen. Obviously, when the Marcellus Shale work started to happen a number of years ago, I don’t think any of us had the idea of the impact that would make.”
“All of a sudden, we saw white pickup trucks in and around the city. Hotels, apartments and rental houses started to fill up. Construction could be seen on many of the ridges and hillsides around our city and county. People with property in most of the outer areas of Moundsville began to deal with leases and gas production royalties,. Restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores and such were busier,” Healy commented.
“We all had to learn patience. Patience driving, patience shopping, patience waiting for a table at a local restaurant. All of a sudden, people younger than me began to see a hustle and bustle in the Moundsville that they had never seen,” the city manager stated.
Healy said, “Sometime prior to 2014, Moundsville City Council started to explore the possibility of applying to become a Home Rule Community, Home Rule having been enacted by the state of West Virginia to give more power to the local government in regards to licenses and dealing with dilapidated properties. In 2015, the city was granted Home Rule status. After amending their application, the final result was the authority to implement a 1 percent municipal sales and use tax, in conjunction with a reduction of the business and occupation tax. The number of business licenses was also reduced.”
“With that 1 percent sales tax, the city proposed dedicating that to the following: Twenty percent to paving, 15 percent to demolition, 25 percent to parks and recreation, and 40 percent to the Four Seasons Pool. As this money started to be received by the city, things started happening. More streets were being paved, some old dilapidated structures started to be razed and the pool started to get some much-needed improvements. The opening of the RV park also has brought in additional funds into the city — currently allotted to the Park and Recreation Department,” Healy stated.
Healy said, “The long-range plan for the Parks Department looks exciting, and I know the parents of young children will be excited to see the improvements over the next few years.”
“As to Four Seasons Pool, there have been several improvements, and with the city having recently been awarded a nearly $100,000 Land and Ward Fund Conservation grant, work will soon begin on the flat roof area, and the deteriorating exterior windows and lintel. The city will be contributing $100,000 toward this undertaking,” Healy commended.
Healy told the Lions Club members that street paving will be another item on the city’s agenda for this year. The city has some $350,000 in the paving funds from 2018.
“As to the Route 2 and Route 250 extension intersection, it is basically complete, with the exception of additional lighting at the intersection itself,” Healy said.
He noted that a new sanitation committee was recently formed to discuss what can be done to help the increase of garbage that is hauled away every year. He said, “Hopefully, some new type of program can be started to help with this issue. Councilperson Ginger DeWitt and my self have high hopes for a recycling program and if we plan to go this route, I will be applying to the West Virginia DEP for a grant to help kick this project off.”
Healy said, “I can say that the property which sits north and south between Kroger and TeleTech Drive, and east and west from Dot Drive and Route 2 has been sold, and a 120-guest room hotel under the Holiday Inn Express flag will be constructed there, with the groundbreaking hopefully to occur in the spring. On that same plot of land there is room for another hotel that will become official when PTT Global announces their cracker plant across the Ohio River. Also, three new restaurants should follow in that same plot of land.”
The new city manager said that in March of this year, the main office of the City Building will have installed a much needed upgrade to the computer software and hardware. This improved system will bring all components of government operation under one system, and as a result payroll, accounts receivable, budget development, court fines, utility billings, building inspection, and morefunctions, will be all on one system.
“By all accounts, the city of Moundsville is blessed with a great group of employees, with my office staff alone having over 170 years of experience,” Healy said.
“I have met with staff, as well as all department heads and have expressed my desire for them to continually strive to meet three goals: professionalism, customer service, and accountability. The citizens deserve this and I demand it,” the city manager added.
“Speaking of a great group of employees, we also have a great group of city council members, which include Mayor Phil Remke, Vice Mayor DeWitt, David Haynes, Judy Hunt, Eugene Saunders, David Wood, and Sara Wood. These people have a great interest in the city, and trust me, nobody would do the job that they do unless they truly loved Moundsville. And that is what we have in common: We all love Moundsville and are working toward a common goal — make this city the best it can be. I want people who live here to stay here — and people who don’t live here will want to move here,” Healy added.
“One of my own goals when I took this job was to be a visible city manager. I hope to be able to continue to speak at these types of events and will be present at a city of Moundsville’s booth at the March 1-2 annual Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Expo at the Training Center inside the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary. Anyone wishing to speak with me can do so there,” said Healy. “Also, the city of Moundsville will be supporting Business After Hours on Jan. 31 at the new Sanitation Building, starting at 5. Reservations can be made by calling the Chamber of Commerce office.”
He concluded by stating that, “The future of Moundville is bright, although there will be bumpy roads ahead, especially when construction does begin across the river. But the overall economic benefits of this are so huge, unlike anything we have ever seen.”
Monday is the deadline for obtaining tickets for the annual Lupe Hewitt Daddy/Daughter Dance, which will be held Saturday at the Training Center inside the former West Virginia Penitentiary. The event, from 6-9 p.m., is being sponsored by the city of Moundsville Parks and Recreation Department.
There will be fee refreshments and free photographs along with door prizes.
Music for the event will be provided by disc jockey Donnie Gilbert.
Moundsville Girls Softball will be holding signups in room 103 at the Sanford Center.
The time period for the signups is 6-8 p.m., on Friday, and from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday.