Councilman outlines wish list

Putting out brush fires is something we expect our area fire departments to do, but it may not be the best use of time for our Marietta city elected officials. I am proposing some strategic planning and other forward-looking plans for 2013 to assist our beautifully historic city as we move through the celebration of our founding 225 years ago. This, of course, is with apologies to the Native Americans who previously called the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers home.

A comprehensive evaluation of our Marietta Property Maintenance Code being pursued by the city administration is something George Washington and Rufus Putnam would have led. Hopefully our current effort will include:

1. A strategic plan for code enforcement and development of an implementation process including penalties. Permitting imminent dangers and attractive nuisances hurts the city, its residents and visitors.

2. A re-evaluation of the permitting process currently under contract with the Washington County Permit Office. Is the system turned over to the county in 2009 working the way hoped? What issues are falling through the cracks?

3. A centralized digital collection place for tracking of all Nuisance Complaints filed within the city of Marietta; time frames for reasonable response time; details about abatements and problems not abated.

A total of 253 nuisance complaints were filed in 2012, with about 190 listed as abated. Complaints delegated beyond the Marietta City Health Department can take copious amounts of time and patience to track under the current system.

A comprehensive strategic plan for repair and maintenance of our cemeteries, especially Oak Grove Cemetery, which was so heavily damaged by the June 29 storm. A newly formed coalition of Marietta College students and faculty, community members, historians and other interested parties are developing: Marietta Cemeteries Coming Alive. The plan involves developing a central, easy to use, comprehensive database for anyone to research burials in Mound, Oak Grove or Harmar cemeteries. It has been suggested this plan include St. Marys two cemeteries and the rest of those in Washington County.

Marietta Cemeteries Coming Alive are considering a community clean up of Oak Grove Cemetery on Saturday, March 23, Community Service Day organized by Marietta College.

A comprehensive plan developed between the Mayor’s Alternative Transportation Committee and Friends of the Trail for a written maintenance and repair plan. Development Director Andy Coleman says that is a priority. Eleven community groups have partnered to form Friends of the River Trail to assist the city in maintenance of the 2.2-mile multi-use path.

Establishing an ad-hock committee to develop a strategic five-year plan for setting priorities in a sidewalk repair plan using the four year’s worth of volunteer and city efforts compiled in the Walk Marietta database created in the Marietta City Development Department. Marietta College interns Ryan Till and Christopher Hinegardener are analyzing the sidewalk surveys and developing various social media to assist with this effort to make Marietta a more safe and inviting place for people – with and without disabilities – to travel.

Establishing a dialogue with Washington County commissioners, Muskingum Township trustees, and Ohio Department of Transportation for development of plans for River Trail Phase 6 from Indian Acres Boat Ramp to Devola. County Commissioner David White has requested an agreement from the city to maintain Phase 6 between Marietta and Devola. Marietta still must connect Phase I of River Trail from Indian Acres Boat Ramp to the city limits near Colegate Drive.

Establishing a five-year strategic plan for replacing a mile of water line each year in the city’s 87-mile +- system. Efforts over the past three years have resulted in one project built of under a mile and planning for another mile to be built in 2014. Recent efforts will result in a complete waterline replacement taking 174 years.

Establishing a five-year strategic plan for repairing the historic Ohio River landing between Second and Fourth streets. Lands, Buildings and Parks Committee toured this area during the summer, looking at erosion and cracking of River Trail Phase 2 caused by bank slumping. 51-year U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Michael Spoor and 10-year engineer Brian Ball have inspected Front to S. Sixth Streets and are preparing a preliminary report with photographs after a recent tour with LBPs chair Harley Noland. Erosion along the bank is threatening both the River Trail investment, but also historic Ohio Street.

Establishing a strategic plan with the Marietta City Fire Department to encourage installation of monitored smoke or fire detector systems in the city with a focus on the historic business district, especially where people are living upstairs in loft apartments. Marietta College junior Michael Sharp is working with Fire Chief C.W. Durham and Fire Inspector Richard Stewart on this important city safety issue.

Developing a closer working relationship with ReStore. Determining an equitable partnership to share some of the bed tax with the volunteer-based organization as it works to make our historic business district more sustainable and attractive to visitors and residents.

Marietta City Councilman Roger G. Kalter, D-1st Ward, is chairman of council’s planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee.