Members of City Council approved funding toward the creation of a new municipal pool, presented Ohio University’s Master Plan and announced an award nomination at the meeting on Monday.
“It’s been a long, long, long, long time coming,” Mayor Steve Patterson said about the approval of funds for the pool.
Council member Jennifer Cochran, D-At Large, communicated concerns from citizens she has spoken to about the pool availability for the upcoming summer swim season.
Patterson responded with the “do-able option” of an agreement with the university for citizens to use the on-campus Aquatic Center without the higher fees associated with it.
“First and foremost, we’re looking at repair options for the pool.” Patterson said. “I think we’re close to finding a solution to the tear in the liner and essentially put a huge patch on the thing and move forward, which would be cost effective.”
City Council was also presented with Ohio University’s Comprehensive Master Plan. Council member Michele Papai, D-3rd Ward, voiced her concerns about the proposed campus projects within the Master Plan.
“Changes to Park Place near Alden Library would be somewhat controversial because it is a city street,” Papai said, referring to the possibility of a pedestrian thoroughfare in front of Alden.
Speaking further on cooperation with the university, Papai commended the efforts of President Roderick McDavis with his impending resignation.
““There have been several initiatives that were started with President McDavis,” Papai said. “The luncheons (between City Council and McDavis) are very helpful and memorandums of understanding were something that did not really occur prior to McDavis.”
Ken Butler, D-4th Ward, called for increased communication between City Council and the Ohio University Board of Trustees.
“I think the Board of Trustees inevitably is making decisions and pushing the university in certain directions and they don’t live here, they’re not communicating with us,” Butler said.
President Chris Knisely also advocated for meetings with the Board of Trustees, saying Secretary of the Board David Moore “seems receptive to this.”
“I am very much interested in seeing ways in which we might communicate,” Knisely said, “this would be one other area in which we could become more familiar with the total community.”
Mayor Patterson also announced the city of Athens’ nomination for the Freedom Award by Andy Stone, a city engineer.
According to the website, the award recognizes employers who provide “exceptional support to their National Guard and Reserve employees.”
Patterson, a former Air Guardsman, recalled a time when he was called to active duty during the 9/11 terrorism attacks and was granted an immediate leave of absence from the Dean of College of Arts and Sciences, where he was employed as a professor of psychology.
“Those are the kinds of employers that would be recognized through this mechanism, those who understand the duties and responsibility of citizen soldiers,” Patterson said.
Patterson and Safety Service Director Paula Horan-Moseley will be going to a luncheon next week to receive the award.