RIDGELEY – “Welcome to my first council meeting, be nice,” said Mark Jones, who was sworn in as Ridgeley's mayor March 14.
By Ronda Wertman
RIDGELEY – “Welcome to my first council meeting, be nice,” said Mark Jones, who was sworn in as Ridgeley’s mayor March 14.
Ridgeley’s town council has undergone many changes in recent months, beginning with the passing of late mayor Lynn Carr in December.
At that time, finance commissioner Butch Hawse was sworn in to fill the mayor’s position and in the coming months, Nick Imes was appointed to fill the vacant council seat.
Following the March 13 council meeting, Hawse resigned as mayor and Jones took the helm. Hawse has since returned to the council in his previous position as finance commissioner.
“It’s been some month, but we are making progress,” said Jones. “We’ve had a lot of changes, but I think they are all for the best.”
One project the council is adamant about is seeing progress on the demolition of the former Ridgeley School.
Officials have been seeking funding sources for several years with no luck.
The council this week approved having an asbestos evaluation completed to determine how much asbestos is in the structure.
Jones noted that if it is deemed that there is a lot, the building can be condemned, which may help with finding funding along with needing to know how much the removal is going to cost in addition to the demolition costs.
“It’s a safety issue; we’ve got to get that building down,” said commissioner Tanya Ryan.
While the future use of the site has not been determined, possibilities include a new town hall or a housing project.
Use of the property is limited given that the area of the football field and parking area must be maintained for their current use.
The council recently met with Henderson Grant Consulting about possible grant opportunities and how to best pursue them.
“This is the first step,” said Jones.
In other business, residents are reminded to post their new 911 house numbers. It was noted that many are keeping their old numbers, but posting the new number too, as fire and emergency medical services and delivery services such as UPS and FedEx many have different information available to them.
Ridgeley is planning to hold an Earth Day clean up on Saturday, April 21. Volunteers are asked to meet at the town hall at 9 a.m. to work on different projects throughout the town, including cleaning streets, planting flowers, spreading mulch and other activities.
Residents are asked to sweep their sidewalks, with the council noting that the town will collect the piles that are swept up.
All ages are invited to participate in this event, with volunteers possibly including local Cub Scouts and Sharing Life Ministries.
Area high school students will be in town for two days in May as they work on clean-up projects.