By Carol Vaughn —
A library representative asked the Parksley Town Council at the Monday council meeting to have streetlights installed on four utility poles in an alleyway behind the new regional library, which is under construction in Parksley.
Pat Bloxom, a library board of trustees member, said the lights are needed for security because staff entrances will be at the rear of the library.
Library officials were told the utility poles are not on library property, she said.
Bloxom said the new library “is almost ready to open,” giving the first of August as the likely opening time.
The library will have more than 20,000 square feet of space, including children’s and teens’ areas; a community meeting room seating 100, with a private entrance; and a large Heritage Center, which includes a climate-controlled room to store historic documents and a research area.
“As of today, we have an archivist,” Bloxom said. The new position will be responsible for taking care of archival items related to Eastern Shore history.
“I do think the library will be the jewel in Parksley’s crown,” said Mayor Frank Russell.
Councilman Ricky Taylor said security lights for other businesses in town, including the volunteer fire department, are paid for by the businesses.
Councilman Henry Nicholson said his only concern is about the lights bothering nearby residents, which has been an issue in the past.
Nicholson said he will contact the Accomack-Northampton Electric Cooperative about who owns the lights and what the town can and can not do.
Russell said he will contact Accomack County Supervisor Paul Muhly about the matter.
“Even though I want to support the library 100%, can I go to the rest of the business owners and say, ‘Hey, we’re buying them and paying their electric, but we’re not doing it for you,’” Russell said, adding, “Maybe we can get someone to sponsor a light.”
“We have asked to put lights on there and A&N told us we couldn’t do it because it’s not on our property — and that’s why we have come to the town,” Bloxom said, adding, “…We appreciate anything you can do.”
The council adopted an updated Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Russell gave an update about progress on a bandshell under construction downtown, which is part of a grant-funded downtown revitalization project.
Russell said he received a call a month ago from the architect, saying there was a problem because electrical service components that were supposed to be installed under the concrete floor was not installed before the concrete was poured.
A solution is still being worked out.
Councilman Dan Matthews said there likely will be money left over to pay for a roof for the bandshell area as result of the majority of downtown business owners choosing to make facade improvements to their buildings themselves, rather than going through the grant.
Additionally, there could be money available for signs to direct people to various places in town, he said.
Russell said he has not yet signed the most recent change order for the project “because they’ve never told me what they are going to change yet, and how they are going to change it, and how they are going to make it right.” Matthews said the change order refers to a different area of the grant project.
“They are two different pools of money,” he said.
Taylor twice made a motion to do away with work sessions, after Matthews said the council did not follow Freedom of Information Act requirements for holding them in the past. Both motions died for lack of a second.
The council voted unanimously to move forward with applying for a USDA grant to purchase a police vehicle.
The council voted 5-1, with Taylor voting no, to repeal an outdated ordinance instituting a $9 per quarter trash collection fee for residents. Taylor said he favored tabling all matters related to outdated ordinances about trash collection until after a new trash collection ordinance is adopted. Taylor earlier in the meeting presented a proposed updated ordinance to reflect current procedures for trash collection. A public hearing is required before the council votes on it.
The council will hold a public hearing on the fiscal year 2023 town budget on Monday, June 13.
The council scheduled a grand opening for the renovated town hall for Saturday, June 11, starting at 10 a.m.
Police Chief Keith Greer purchased 300 American flags himself for Memorial Day and is asking for volunteers to help place flags on the graves of veterans on Sunday, May 22, at 3 p.m., starting at Parksley Cemetery and proceeding to Liberty Cemetery.