Cumberland Times-News

January 5, 2014

Romney plans to continue progress

MARLA PISCIOTTA
Cumberland Times-News

PHILADELPHIA — ROMNEY, W.Va. — The year 2014 will be a busy one for the city of Romney.

In his fifth year as mayor, Dan Hileman talked to the Times-News about the future progress of his city and the many improvements thus far during his tenure.

The biggest project that will begin this year is the new $14.3 million sewer treatment plant.

“We are under order to have the new plant in operation by 2015,” Hileman said.

Nutrient impact on the Chesapeake Bay has caused many towns to upgrade systems to be compliant with the new rules and regulations.

The new plant in Romney will be located next to the old one just off Depot Street. Its design is completed and construction, when permits are approved, is slated to begin in February.

Hileman said there will be lots of concrete trucks, dust and traffic delays, but that is the price paid for progress.

Funding for the project is coming from numerous sources.

The city received a small cities block grant for $1 million, the Department of Environmental Protection is forgiving a grant of $2 million and deferring another $3.6 million, the Army Corps of Engineers is providing $300,000, another $500,000 is coming from the State and Tribal Assistance grant and the Hampshire County Commission is providing $100,000.

Dan Ferrell, project manager with Thrasher Engineering, Clarksburg, said the Infrastructure and Job Development Council will be providing a $2.2 million loan and possibly more if needed.

An estimated 1,027 households will benefit from the new treatment plant.

The city has also been working to improve its sidewalks with the Safe Route to School in its second phase.

The first sidewalk replacement went from the east side of School Street and U.S. Route 50 to Rosemary Lane.

A design engineer has been selected on the second phase, which will cost approximately $150,000. Grant funding is being provided by the state.

The second phase will go from Charlevoix Street west on School Street and link up with the first section on the north side of U.S. Route 50.

The city public works facility is nearly completed. The new building is located at Indian Heights. Funding was provided by a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

An emergency power generator for the water plant has been installed to ensure water supply during power failures.

City officials, through a $52,000 energy efficiency grant, upgraded the HVAC system in the city office building that has resulted in significant energy savings.

A walking trail leading to the Romney Business Park was completed with a $20,000 grant.

The Romney cell tower provides $1,000 a month rental to the city, and the four-year contract is currently being renegotiated.

The interconnector sewer line between Mountain Top areas and the Romney system was completed and fully funded with $2 million in grant monies.

Another ongoing project is the construction of Celebration Park, a three-section project located next to City Hall. The park’s base is being built with engraved bricks purchased in honor or in memory of loved ones.

The brainchild of the Romney 250th birthday celebration continues under the Romney History Festival.

Beginning in February, the Sheetz store in the center of town will be replaced by a “restaurant” design store.

The new $2 million facility will accommodate dining inside and outside, and will be built approximately five feet behind the existing structure at the corner of U.S. Route 50 and Grafton Street by late summer.

Business will continue until the new store construction is complete and ready for business.

It will take two days to tear down the old structure, at which time new gas pumps will be installed.

A third generation of McDonald’s owner-operators has taken over the franchise in Romney.  

Matriarch Cindy Levine and her son Josh Frankel purchased the facility from Terry Elliott.

Levine is CEO of CJ Enterprises Global and Frankel is the COO.

Another major change within the city will be the renovation of old buildings and construction of new ones on the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind campus.

A $2 million facilities plan has been approved by the state and will gradually become a reality over the next decade.

With a population of approximately 1,950, Hileman says it’s not the numbers but the fact that Romney is a better place to live.

The city is also pursuing a streetscape project.

“We’ve been approved to apply for a grant for that project,” Hileman said.

“My vision for Romney is to be one of the best small cities in West Virginia in which to live, raise a family, visit and grow a business. It will be renowned for its historical significance, respect for tradition, culture, recreational opportunities and attractive neighborhoods.”

Contact Marla Pisciotta at marlapisciotta@frontier.com.