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Council Close to Announcing Components Making up Indoor Rec Complex; Executive Session Talk Likely

January 05, 2018
When the Bridgeport City Council meets for what could be the only meeting of January, chances are high that a good portion of it will be behind closed doors. And City Manager Kim Haws said that if and when Mayor Andy Lang makes the motion to go into executive session during the work session proceeding the meeting there will be a couple of topics requiring that to take place.
The work session is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. The regular meeting will convene at 7 p.m.
“It’s my understanding the work session will need to go into executive session to discuss personnel issues and advance construction planning,” said Haws.
As for the personnel issues, Haws or any other member can’t discuss what that involves. However, when asked if the construction planning dealt with the planned indoor recreation complex, Haws was able to provide an answer.
“I think that’s probably true that the discussion with advance construction planning is involving the indoor recreation complex,” said Haws. “We’ve got the next level of action that needs to take place to keep this moving and that involves giving our architects and engineers direction on how to proceed because the grading has to begin sometime this spring. When that happens, there has to be a pretty good idea of what type of facilities will be in place in the complex and how things will be laid out.”
Council has already approved a bonding mechanism for up to $35 million for the facility. What hasn’t been approved is exactly what will be included in the complex. Various components from basketball courts, a walking track, swimming pool, indoor multi-use field for soccer and football, along with additions outside that could include more soccer and multi-use fields and even an amphitheater have been discussed or shown in drawings. What exactly will be included, and whether everything is done at once or in phases, has not yet been determined.
“We hope to have an announcement on what will be included soon. We have to be definitive on what makes sense financially when we officially unveil what will be included in the facility,” said Haws. “We don’t want to prematurely announce what we believe will be in there and create false expectations.”
The regular meeting may not last as long as the work session. The meeting will start with an invocation by Young Life’s Nathaniel Lutyens and will be followed by reports from Lang and Haws.
As for new business, there are only a few items and only one that isn’t somewhat standard. The city will consider the request of resident Scott Holmes to partially abandon an alley behind his property on Long Street. City Clerk/Community Development Director Andrea Kerr said the alley in question goes near two parcels of property – both owned by Holmes.
“This would allow him to build a driveway and do potential upgrades,” said Kerr. “This is a very standard request the city receives and if approved there will be a posting of a legal notice and a public hearing to follow before it becomes final.”
Council will also be looking at cancelling the Jan. 22 meeting. The reason for that, said Kerr, is due to a conflict with the West Virginia Winter Municipal League meetings.
“Typically, a large number of Council members and administrative staff attend those meetings that run Sunday through Tuesday,” said Kerr. “Those meetings are always held in Charleston.”
Kerr said the meetings are very important. She said it allows city staff to meet with local delegates and committee heads to discuss various needs and concerns the City of Bridgeport is dealing with and what can be done at the state level to assist.
Council will also look to reappoint several members to the Bridgeport Emergency Services Council. Those individuals include Amy Romano, Richard Forren, Christopher Goode (proxy John Backus), Joseph Bundy (proxy Margaret Howe, and Dennis Klingensmith.
Council has the option to address budget revisions and/or authorizations if needed. Kerr said there aren’t any necessary at this point.
The 7 p.m. meeting will be held at the Bridgeport Municipal Complex and is open to the public. There will be a public forum near the start of the meeting for anyone wishing to address the city’s governing body.
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Mayor Andy Lang, while bottom photo shows City Manager Kim Haws making points during a recent work session. Middle photo shows Council member John Wilson, standing, talking to fellow Council members Dustin Vincent, left, and Jeff Smell prior to a recent meeting.