Pothole problems? Let the city know online


BUCKHANNON — Buckhannon residents can now talk to their town about any municipal issues they’re having through an online portal.

The city’s website, www.buckhannonwv.org, now includes a new “citizens’ engagement tool,” which enables residents to request city services from their computer or mobile devices, city information coordinator and grant writer Callie Cronin Sams told the Buckhannon Rotary Club Tuesday.

“We also have a new citizens’ engagement tool so you can report online now through our website if you need an extra trash pickup or bulky goods or yard waste, that sort of thing, you can request that there,” Sams said. “You could report maybe if you’ve had a water disruption or you’ve noticed a pothole or something that needs repaired in the city.”

A link to the citizens’ engagement tool is located on the left side of the city’s homepage under “Popular links.” The website states that the tool can be used to request a bulky goods or yard waste pickup, report potholes or disruption in water or sewer services, or file complaints regarding a code violation.

“It’s really easy,” Sams said. “It does ask you to create an account, but if you have Facebook or GooglePlus account, you can just use that.”

Sams — who stopped by the club’s weekly meeting to update members on city happenings as well as her role in the newly created position — said a downtown parking map, all city press releases, and city council agendas, minutes, ordinances and resolutions can be found on the city’s website.

“I also hope to be adding soon the Country Roads Transit route, and if you have ideas that you think residents or visitors might find useful that you want to see added to the city’s website, let us know and we’ll at least consider it,” Sams said.

Sams is also manning the city’s Facebook page (listed under “City of Buckhannon”) and will likely be utilizing Twitter, Instagram and maybe even a YouTube channel to get municipal news out.

Sams, who grew up on Meade Street and graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School before earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration, also updated Rotary members on some grants the city is applying for.

“We have two grant applications out to the DOH alternative transportation funding program,” she said. “We’re looking to get the Riverwalk extended down to Moore Avenue. Currently, it ends at Marion Street, so that would be the same paved ADA-accessible Riverwalk trail all the way down to Moore Avenue, and then also on the other side, getting ADA-accessible sidewalks around or past [St. Joseph’s Hospital] and out towards Leggitt Addition.”

The city has also submitted a grant application to Volunteer West Virginia for funding for a volunteer center that would operate primarily online, Sams said.

“We may have a small physical presence at my office in city hall if you want to come in and hear about volunteering opportunities but online as well,” she said. “And we hope to use that not only for city events but also for organizations such as yourselves, if you have an event where you need volunteers, you can post your event to the web and then it will be one central location for all organizations within Buckhannon and the surrounding area to post events.”

In the future, the city hopes to apply for grants that could possibly help pay for the construction of a new auditorium/gymnasium in Stockert Youth Center that could also function as a multi-purpose space, Sams said. Local businessman Mike Ross recently issued a challenge to local residents, pledging to match their donations to the SYC gym renovation project up to $10,000.

Now that she’s settled into her new job — which she began Jan. 2 — Sams said city departments are coming to her everyday with new grant funding requests.

“I’m trying to keep everyone happy,” she said. “I’m still learning what exactly this position is going to entail. It’s a new position for me, and it’s also a brand new position.”

Sams also mentioned a few new developments coming in 2018, including $2 million worth of improvements to the city’s water system that’s being financed by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, new playground equipment at the North Buckhannon Riverfront Park and a new pavilion at the Riverwalk.

“We’re really excited right now as far as businesses goes,” she said. “We’re now at 100 percent occupancy at the storefronts on Main Street, so that’s great. I really feel like our economy is just buzzing away. Of course, we have the new businesses moving in, Harbor Freight and Stone Tower Brews, so we look forward to welcoming them in 2018.”

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