GRAFTON— The Veterans of Foreign Wars Military Color Guard Post Home 3081 is an active group within the community, attending local ceremonies and honoring late veterans in not only Taylor County but surrounding counties, as well by attending funeral services.
According to VFW member Dale Zinn, the Color Guard attends approximately 100 funeral services per year, as far away as Davis, West Virginia.
Zinn approached the Grafton City Council during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday afternoon to express their need for a new van. He shared with the council that their current means of transportation isn’t in the best shape and in need of replacing.
“This is how we travel, to be able to get to these services and ceremonies. It is important to have a reliable vehicle,” Zinn commented.
In speaking to council members, he revealed that the Color Guard has collected $25,000 through fundraisers and donations, to go toward the purchase of the new van. He also shared that they plan to keep their business in Taylor County by buying local.
The estimated cost for a new nine passenger van, that will comfortably seat all of their members, as well as their guns, is between $28,000-$30,000.
Zinn asked that council consider assisting the VFW Color Guard with the purchase of their vehicle, saying any amount would be greatly appreciated.
“I do believe that everyone here is in support of the cause, and appreciates what the group does for the community. We will have to look at our budget and see what we can do to help,” Mayor Peggy Barney stated.
Councilman Earl Bartlett spoke up and voiced his thoughts on supporting the group.
“What they do for us and for the veterans here and in other communities is something to be admired. We help plenty of other causes, why not this one? I think we should do all we can to help an organization that does so much for us. I say, if we are able, to give $3,000 to the purchase of a van,” he declared.
While the council still had to review their budget, the members were in agreement with Bartlett and announced that if the budget would allow, they would gladly donate the $3,000.
In other matters of business, Grafton City Manager Kevin Stead shared that upon visiting the city’s website, one might notice a few changes.
Stead explained that he has been working on the site, adding new information and making it easier to navigate.
“It has taken some time and is going to take some more with me doing it myself and learning how to change things, but we are saving money by me doing the managing myself,” he noted.
He also touched base on the city’s demolition project as they continue to remove unsightly structure from the area. Additionally, the hallway of City Hall is currently being painted and Stead recommended that upon completion that they reach out to the Taylor County Photography Club for photos of the town to hang in the area.
Stead also delivered an update on the freight station, mentioning that a site assessment had been completed and the site was cleared and not in need of a cleanup, however, the ground water is not to be used.
“It was cleared under the stipulation that we don’t use the ground water, which we weren’t planning to use, so there is no issue there. The next step will be to have the deed restriction removed, paper work submitted to the DEP and we will be in contact with CXS in April,” he explained.
Stead also provided council with information regarding the need of upgrades at the Fetterman Light Station, as well as a request made by the Grafton Swim Team for assistance with paying for new equipment including touch pads and timers.
He said that the team has been needing these items for three or four years now, and that they are requesting half of the $20,500 needed from the Taylor County Commission also.
“The city supplies lifeguards for practices, and they use the city pool for practices. They also mentioned the fact that this team became so popular, it sparked the start of a swim team at the high school,” Stead mentioned.
The council decided to add the request to the agenda for their next meeting, to be held later in the month.
Councilman Tom Bartlett, who is currently serving his last term on city council, was given the opportunity to draw the names for those running for the open seats in order to determine their order on the ballots for each ward.
“Since it is Tom’s last term with us and he can’t run again, we thought it would be nice to let him draw the names,” City Finance Director Larry Richman expressed.
Lastly, the council discussed the possibility of funding a grant that would assist business owners and tenants in the downtown area of Grafton in making improvements to the façade of their buildings.
Council members discussed several options on how to make the grant project work effectively and efficiently. With multiple items that needed to be further discussed and ironed out, the council agreed to hold a workshop to work on the specifics.
Once the plans have been finalized a complete article on the grant funding project will appear in the Mountain Statesman.