City council meeting addresses Huntington’s expansion


Lexi Browning

Charles Holley, director of development and planning for the City of Huntington, addresses a resolution Monday at City Hall.

Huntington’s City Council praised the city’s success of receiving a national grant Monday and approved the authorization for Mayor Steve Williams to apply for funds on behalf of the Healing Place during a City Council meeting.
The council recognized the United States Environmental Protection Agency for selecting Huntington as one of 20 communities to receive a $200,000 grant for cleaning former industry areas.
“There are great opportunities we have before us in our city,” Williams said. “The property between Marshall University and Highlawn represent a magnificent opportunity, but it’s also a reminder of recent failures.”
Williams said cleaning the areas of potentially harmful contaminants from the previous industries were vital for launching a polymer-manufacturing center, creating recreational areas and transforming the riverfront park.
A resolution passed authorizing the mayor to apply for a Governor’s Community Partnership Program to fund the Healing Place, a rehabilitation facility for men battling with addiction, with $3,000 for the expansion of its client intake.
Matt Boggs, director of development at the Healing Place of Huntington, said the highly anticipated expansion would require additional furnishings for 22 men.
“[This] is huge,” Boggs said. “Our founders original vision as to become a 100-bed facility, and from January 2011 to now, that’s what we as staff and board of directors have tried to accomplish. Seeing a vision become a reality is amazing to be apart of and witness. This is just the beginning.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the unveiling of the second floor expansion will take place at noon April 9.
John Stump, Steptoe and Johnson PLLC attorney, said the bonds will have a fixed interest rate of 3.26 percent for 20 years with an ability to refinance the bond after 10 years.
“The total amount being borrowed is less than the $6 million that was approved in the ordinance and actually is under $5.4 million,” Stump said.
Stump said bonds will be available for investment Monday and would close on March 26.
Williams praised the efforts of the Public Works Department in snow removal during last week’s winter storm.
“All six plows operated for 72 consecutive hours from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 7 p.m. Sunday,” Williams said. “No injuries and no accidents or mechanical problems were reported.”
Williams requested constituents identify pothole complaints throughout the city and submit all appeals to their district’s council member by March 20.
Two resolutions concerning grants for the Huntington Fire Department also passed, allowing the mayor to apply on behalf of the HFD for a Firehouse Subs safety foundation grant and enter into a State Farm Insurance grant for the department.
The Firehouse Subs grant totals $25,517.95 to purchase 15 Automated External Defibrillators and two training AEDs. The State Farm grant issues $5,000 for 800 units of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
Councilwoman Rebecca Thacker withdrew her sponsorship of the resolution prohibiting advertisements placed upon the Greater Huntington Wall of Fame after debate and the resolution was sent back into committee.
The council also confirmed the appointment of Michael J. Emerson for his first term with the Huntington Municipal Development Authority with a unanimous vote.
Lexi Browning can be contacted at [email protected].